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MABEL BAxRNES-QRUNDY has rapidly come to the 
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Her Mad Month 

An Undressed Heroine 

Marguerite's Wonderful Year 

Hilary on Her Own 

Two in a Tent— and Jane 

The Third Miss Wenderby 

Patricia Plays a Part 

Candytuft~I mean Veronica 

The Vacillations of Hazel 

London : HUTCHINSON & CO., Paternoster Row. E.C.4 

The Price of Power 

^ein^ Chapters from the Secret History 
of the Imperial Court of Russia :: iDy 

William le Queux ^h %h ^ 


(( APR 2 3 1968 ,. 
X^l-^ls-rr Of TO^S^^' 




" M'siEUR Colin Trewinnard ? " 

" That is my name, Captain Stoyanovitch," I replied 
in surprise. " You know it quite well." 

" The usual formality, 7non cher ami I " 

And the tall, handsome equerry in the white uniform 
of the Imperial Guard laughed lightly, clicked his heels 
together, and handed me a letter wluch I saw bore the 
Imperial cipher upon its black seal. 

" From His Imperial Majesty the Emperor," he 
added in Russian. 

I held my breath. Had the blow fallen ? 

With eager, trembling fingers I tore open the envelope 
and found therein a note in French, merely the words : 

" His Imperial Majesty the Emperor commands Mr. 
Colin Trewinnard to private audience to-day at 3.30 p.m. 

St. Petersburg, June 28th." 

" Very well," I managed to reply. " Tell Colonel 
Polivanoff that — that I shall be there. Have a 
cigarette ? " and I handed him the silver box of Bog- 
danoffs which were the common property of the staff 
of the Embassy. 


Having flung himself into a big eas3^-chair, he stretched 
out his long legs and lit up. 

" Well," I said, leaning against the edge of the 
writing-table, " I suppose the Emperor returned from 
Odessa early this morning — eh ? '* 

" Yes," replied the elegant officer, in English. 
" Thank Heaven, the journey is at last over. Ah ! 
what a tour of the Empire ! At Orel we held the 
great review, then on to Saratov, where there were 
more manoeuvres and a review. Afterwards we went 
down the Volga to Astrakhan to unveil the new statue 
to Peter the Great ; then Kertch, more manoeuvres, 
and into the Crimea for a v/eek's rest. Afterwards 
across to Odessa, and then, by a three nights' journey, 
back here to Petersburg. Faugh ! How we all hate 
that armoured train ! " 

" But it is surely highly necessary, my dear Stoyano- 
vitch," I said. " With this abominable wave of 
anarchism which has spread over Europe, it behoves 
the Secret Police to take every precaution for His 
Majesty's safety ! " 

** Ah 1 my dear friend," laughed the equerry. " I 
tell you it is not at all pleasant to travel when one 
expects every moment that the train will be blown up. 
One's sleeping berth, though covered with a down 
quilt, is but a bed of torture in such conditions." 

" Yes," I said. " But His Majesty — how does he 
bear it ? " 

" The Emperor has nerves of iron. He is the least 
concerned of any of us. But, mon Dieu ! I would 
not be in his shoes for the wealth of all the Russias." 

" What — more conspiracies ? " I exclaimed. 

" Conspiracies ! " sighed the Captain. " Mon Dieu I 
A fresh one is discovered by the political police every 
week. Only the day before the Emperor left for the 
country he found among the Ministers' daily reports 


upon the table in his private cabinet an anonymous 
letter telling him that he will meet with a tragic end 
on the sixth of the present month. How this letter 
got there nobody knows. His Majesty is seldom out 
of temper, but I never saw him so furiously angry 

" It is unfortunate," I said. " Apparently he cannot 
trust even his immediate entourage.'* 

" Exactly," answered the dark-haired handsome 
man. " The constant reports of General Markoff 
regarding the revolutionists must be most alarming. 
And yet he preserves an outward calm that is truly 
remarkable. But, by the way," he added, " His 
Majesty, before I left the Palace with that letter, sum- 
moned me and gave me a message for you — a verbal 

" Oh ! What was that ? " 

" He told me to say that he sent to you a word — let 
me see, I wrote it down lest I should forget," and pulling 
down his left shirt cuff, he spelt : 

" B-a-t-h-i-1-d-i-s." 

" Thank you," I replied briefly. 

" What does it mean ? Is 'it some password ? " 
Ivan Stoyanovitch asked with considerable curiosity. 

" That's scarcely a fair question," I said in rebuke. 

" Ah ! of course," he replied, with a touch of sarcasm. 
" I ought not to have asked you. Pardon me, my 
friend. I forgot that you enjoy His Majesty's con- 
fidence — that ' ' 

" Not at all," I protested. " I am but a humble 
attache of a foreign Embassy. It is not likely that I 
am entrusted with the secrets of Russia." 

" Not with those of Russia, but those of the Emperor 
personally. Dachkoff was discussing you at the Turf 
Club one night not long ago." 


" That's interesting," I laughed. " And what had 
the old man to say ? " 

" Oh, nothing of a very friendly nature. But, you 
know, he never has a good word to say for anybody." 

" Gamblers seldom have. I hear he lost ten thousand 
roubles to Prince Savinski at the Union the night 
before last." 

" I heard it was more," and the long-legged equerry 
leaned back his head and watched the blue rings of 
cigarette smoke slowly ascend to the ceiling of the room, 
through the long window of which was a view across 
the Neva, with the grim Fortress of Peter and Paul 
opposite. " But," he went on, " we were speaking of 
these constant conspiracies. Though we have been 
back in Petersburg only a few hours, ^Markoff has already 
reported a desperate plot. The conspirators, it seems, 
had bored a tunnel and placed a mine under the Nevski, 
close to the corner of the Pushkinskaya, and it was 
arranged to explode it as the Emperor's carriage passed 
early this morning on the way from the Nicholas station. 
But IMarkoff — the ever-watchful Markoff — discovered 
the projected attempt only at eleven o'clock last night 
— two hours before we passed. There have been thirty- 
three arrests up to the present, including a number of 
girl students." 

" Markoff is really a marvel," I declared. " He 
scents a conspiracy anywhere." 

" And his spies are everywhere. Markoff takes a 
good deal of the credit, but it is his agents w^ho do the 
real work. He has saved the Emperor's life on at 
least a dozen occasions." 

I said nothing. I was thinking over the word — a 
very significant word — which the Emperor had sent 
me by his equerry. To me, that w^ord meant a very 
great deal. 

Our Ambassador, Sir Harding Lowe, being at home 


in England on leave, the Honourable Claude Saunder- 
son, our Councillor of Embassy, was acting as Charge 
d' Affaires. As far as we knew the political horizon 
was calm enough, save the dark little war cloud which 
perpetually hovers over the Balkans and grows darker 
each winter. The German negotiations with Russia 
had been concluded, and the foreign outlook appeared 
more serene than it had been for many months. 

Yet within the great Winter Palace there was unrest 
and trouble. Jealousy, hatred and all uncharitable- 
ness were rife amid the Tzar's immediate entonj'age, 
while the spirit of revolution was spreading daily with 
greater significance. 

Within the past twelve months the two Prime 
Ministers, Semenoff and },Iouravieff, had been assas- 
sinated by bombs, five governors of provinces had met 
with violent deaths, and eight chiefs of police of various 
cities had fallen victims of the revolutionists, v^'ho had 
frankly and openly vowed to take the life of the Tzar 

Was it any wonder, then, that the Emperor lived 
in bomb-proof rooms both in Petersburg and Tzarskoie- 
Selo, as well as at Gatchina ; that he never slept in the 
same bed twice, that all food served to him was pre- 
viously tasted, that he never gave audience without a 
loaded revolver lying upon the table before him, and 
that he surrounded himself by hordes of police-agents 
and spies ? Surely none could envy him such a life 
of constant apprehension and daily terror ; for twice 
in a month had bombs been thrown at his carriage, 
while five weeks before he had had both horses killed 
by an explosion in Moscow and only escaped death 
by a sheer miracle. 

True, the revolutionists were unusually active at that 
moment, and the throne of Russia had become seriously 
menaced. Any other but a man of iron constitution 


and nerves of steel would surely have been driven to 
lunacy by the constant terror in which he was forced 
to exist. Yet, though he took ample precaution, he 
never betrayed the slightest anxiety, a fact which held 
everyone amazed. He v^^as a true Russian, an autocrat 
of dogged courage, quick decision, always forceful and 
impelling, a faithful friend, but a bitter and revengeful 
enemy ; a born ruler and a manly Emperor in every 
sense of the word. 

"The Grand Duchess Natalia has been with the 
Emperor. Did she return with you this morning ? " 
I inquired. 

" Yes," drawled the equerry. " She's been admired 
everywhere, as usual, and half our staff are over head 
and ears in love with her. She's been flirting out- 

" Then half your staff are fools," I exclaimed bluntly. 

" Ah, my dear Trewinnard, she is so sweet, so very 
charming, so exquisite, so entirely unlike the other 
girls at Court — so delightfully unconventional." 

" A little too unconventional to suit some — if all I 
hear be true," I remarked with a smile. 

" You know her, of course. She's an intimate friend 
of yours. I overheard her one day telling the Emperor 
what an excellent tennis player you were." 

" Well, I don't fancy His Majesty interests himself 
very much in tennis," I laughed. " He has other, and 
far more important, matters to occupy his time — the 
affairs of his great nation." 

" Natalia, or Tattie, as they call her in the Imperial 
circle, is his favourite niece. Nowadays she goes every- 
where with him, and does quite a lot of his most private 
correspondence — that which he does not even trust to 

" Then the Emperor is more friendly towards Her 
Imperial Highness than before — eh ? " I asked, for 


truth to tell I was very anxious to satisfy myself upon 
this point. 

" Yes. She has been forgiven for that little escapade 
in Moscow." 

" What escapade ? " I asked, feigning surprise. 

" What escapade ? " my friend echoed. " Why, you 
know well enough ! I've heard it whispered that it 
was owing to your cleverness as a diplomat that the 
matter was so successfully hushed up — and an ugly 
affair it was, too. The suicide of her lover." 

" That's a confounded lie ! " I said quickly. " He 
did not commit suicide at all. At most, he left Russia 
with a broken heart, and that is not usually a fatal 

" Well, you needn't get angry about it, my dear 
fellow," complained my friend. " The affair is success- 
fully hushed up, and I fancy she's got a lot to thank you 

" Not at all," I declared. " I knov/ that you fellows 
have coupled my name with hers, just because I've 
danced with her a few times at the Court balls, and I've 
been shooting at her father's castle away in Samara. 
But I assure you my reputation as the little Grand 
Duchess's intimate friend is entirely a mythical one." 

Captain Stoyanovitch only smiled incredulously, 
stretched out his long legs and shi^gged his shoulders. 

" W^ell," I went on, " has she been very terrified about 
all these reports of conspiracies ? " 

" Frightened out of her life, poor child ! And who 
would not be ? " he asked. " We didn't know from 
one hour to another that we might not all be blown into 
the air. Everywhere the railway was lined by Cos- 
sacks, of course. Such a demonstration is apt to lend 
an air of security, but, alas ! there is no security mth 
the very Ministry undermined by revolution, as it is." 

I sighed. What he said was, alas ! too true. Russia, 


at that moment, was in very evil case, and none knew 
it better than we, the impartial onlookers at the British 

The warm June sun fell across the rather faded 
carpet of that sombre old-fashioned room with its 
heavy furniture, which was my ov^n sanctum, and as 
the smart captain of the Imperial Guard lolled back 
picturesquely in the big arm-chair I looked at him 

They were strange thoughts which flooded my brain 
at that moment — thoughts concerning that pretty, 
high-born young lady whom we had just been discussing, 
the girl to whom, he declared. His Majesty entrusted 
the greatest secrets of the throne. 

Stoyanovitch was an extremely elegant and some- 
what irresponsible person, and the fact that the 
Emperor had allowed the Grand Duchess Natalia to 
write his private letters did not strike me as the actual 
truth. The Tzar was far too cautious to entrust the 
secrets of a nation to a mere girl who was certainly 
know'n to be greatly addicted to the gentle pastime of 

Whatever the equerry told us, we at the Embassy 
usually added the proverbial grain of salt. Indeed, 
the diplomat at any post abroad learns to believe 
nothing which he hears, and only half he actually 

But the Emperor had sent me, by the mouth of 
that smart young officer, the word '' Eathildis '' — 
which was an ancient woman's Christian name — and 
to me it conveyed a secret message, an announcement 
which held me in surprise and apprehension. 

What could have happened ? 

I dreaded to think. 




" You understand, Trewinnard. There must be no 
scandal. What I have just revealed to you is in 
strictest confidence — an inviolable secret — a personal 
secret of my own." 

" I understand Your Majesty's commands per- 

" There is already a lot of uncharitable chatter in 
the Court circle regarding the other matter, I hear. 
Has anything reached you at the Embassy ? " 

" Not a whisper, as far as I am aw- are. Indeed, 
Your Majesty's words have greatly surprised me. I 
did not believe the affair to be so very serious." 

" Serious ! " echoed the Emperor Alexander, speak- 
ing in English, his dark, deep-set eyes fixed upon me. 
" I tell you it is all too serious, nov/ that I find myself 
completely isolated — oh ! yes, Trewinnard, isolated — 
wi:h scarce one single friend. God knows 1 I have 
done my best for the nation, but, alas ! everyone's 
hand is raised against me." And his firm mouth 
hardened behind his full, dark beard, and he drew his 
hand wearily across his broad, white brow. 

The room in the Winter Palace in which we sat 
was cosy and luxuriantly furnished, the two windows 
looking forth upon a grey, cheerless quadrangle whence 
came the tramp of soldiers at drill. 

Where we sat we could hear the sharp words of 
command in Russian, and the clang of the rifie-butts 
striking the stones. 

The room was essentially English in its' aspect, with 
its rich chirv^-blue Axminster carpet, and silk upholster}'- 
with curtains to match, while the panelling from floor 


to ceiling was enamelled dead white, against which the 
fine water-colour drawings of naval scenes stood out 
in vivid relief. Upon a buhl table was a great silver 
bowl filled with Marshal Niel roses — for His Majesty 
was passionately fond of flowers — and beside it, large 
framed panel photographs of the Tzarina and his children. 
And yet those dead white walls and the shape of those 
square windows struclc a curious incongruous note, for 
if the actual truth be told, those walls were of steel, 
and that private cabinet of the Emperor had been 
constructed by the Admiralty Department with armour 
plates W'hich were bomb-proof. 

That apartment in the west angle of the Palace 
quadrangle was well known to me, for in it His Majesty 
had given me private audience many times. That 
long white door which had been so silently closed upon 
me by the Cossack sentry when I entered was, I knew, 
of armour-plate, four inches in thickness, while beside 
the windows were revolving shutters of chilled steel. 

There, at that great littered ^roll-top writing-table, 
upon which was the reading-lamp with its shade of 
salmon-pink silk with the loaded revolver beside it, the 
Emperor worked, attending to affairs of State. And 
in his padded chair, leaning back easily as he spoke to 
me, was His Majesty himself, a broad-shouldered, 
handsome man just past middle age, dressed in a suit 
of na\'y blue serge. He was a big-faced, big-limbed, 
big-handed man of colossal physique and marvellous 
intelligence. Though haunted by the terror of violent 
death, he was yet an autocrat to the finger-tips, whose 
bearing was ever that of a sovereign ; yet his eyes had 
a calm, sympathetic, kindly look, and those w^ho knew 
him intimately were well aware that he was not the 
monster of oppression wliich his traducers had made 
him out to be before the eyes of Europe. 

True, with a stroke of that grey quill pen lying there 


upon his blotting-pad he had sent many a man and 
woman without trial to their unrecorded doom, either 
in the frozen wastes of Northern Siberia, to the terrible 
mines of Nerchinsk, to the horrors of the penal island 
of Sakhalin, or to those fearful subterranean oubliettes 
at Schusselburg, whence no prisoner has ever returned. 
But, as an autocrat, he dealt with his revolutionary 
enemies as they would deal with him. They conspired 
to kill him, and he retaliated by consigning them to a 
lingering death. 

On the other hand, I myself knew how constant was 
his endeavour to ferret out abuses of administration, to 
alleviate the sufferings of the poor, to give the peasantry 
education and all the benefits of modern civilization as 
we in England know them, and how desperate, alas 1 
were his constant struggles with that unscrupulous 
camarilla which ever surrounded him, constantl}^ pre- 
venting him from learning the truth concerning any 
particular matter. 

Thus, though striving to do his best for his subjects 
and for his nation, yet, surrounded as he was by a 
corrupt Ministr}^ and a more corrupt Court, this big, 
striking man in blue serge was, perhaps, next to the 
Sultan of Turkey, the best-hated man in all Europe. 

My own position was a somewhat singular one. A 
few months after my appointment to Petersburg from 
Brussels I had been able to render His Majesty a slight 
personal service. In fact, I had, when out one evening 
with two other attaches of the German Embassy, 
learned by mere accident of a desperate plot which was 
to be put into execution on the following day. My 
informant was a dancer at the Opera, who had taken 
too much champagne at supper. I sought audience 
of the Emperor early next day, and was fortunately 
just in time to prevent him from passing a certain spot 
near the Michailovski Palace, where six men were 


stationed with bombs of picric acid, ready to hurl. 
For that service His Majesty had been graciously 
pleased to take me into his confidence — a confidence 
which, I hope, I never abused. From me he was always 
eager to ascertain what was really happening beyond 
that high wall of untruth which the camarilla had so 
cleverly built up and preserved, and more than once 
had he entrusted me with certain secret missions. 

I was not in uniform, as that audience was a private 
one ; but as His Majesty, ruler of one hundred and 
thirty millions of people, passed me his finely-chased 
golden box full of cigarettes — and we both lit one, as 
was our habit — his brow clouded, and with a sigh he said : 

" To tell the truth, Trewinnard, I am also very anxious 
indeed concerning the second matter — concerning the 
little rebel." 

" I know that Your Majesty must be," I replied. 
" But, after all, Her Imperial Highness is a girl of ex- 
ceptional beauty and highest spirits ; and even if she 
indulges in — well, in a little harmless flirtation, she surely 
may be forgiven." 

" Other girls may be forgiven, but not those of the 
blood-ro3^al," he said in mild rebuke. " The Empress 
is quite as concerned about her as I am. Why, even 
upon this last journey of ours I found her more than 
once flirting with Stoyanovitch, my equerry. True, 
he's a good-looking young fellow, and of excellent 
family, yet she ought to know that such a thing is quite 
unwarrantable ; she ought to know that to those of the 
blood-royal love is, alas I forbidden." 

I was surprised at this. I had no idea that she and 
Ivan Stoyanovitch had become friends. He had never 
hinted at it. 

** The fact is, Trewinnard," the Emperor w^ent on, 
blowing a cloud of cigarette-smoke from his lips, " if 
this continues I shall be reluctantly compelled to banish 


her to the Caucasus, or somewhere where she will be 
kept out of mischief." 

" But permit me, Sire, to query whether flirtini^ is 
really mischief," I exclaimed with a smile. " Every 
girl of her age — and she is hardly nineteen — fancies 
herself in love, mostly with men much older than her- 

" Our women, Trewinnard, are, alas ! not like women 
of the people," was the Sovereign's calm reply, his 
deep, earnest eyes upon mine. "It is their misfortune 
that they are not. They can never enjoy the same 
freedom as those fortunate ones of the middle-class ; 
they seldom are permitted to marry the man the}^ love, 
and though they may live in palaces and m_ove amid 
the gay society of Court, yet their ideas are warped 
from birth, and broken hearts, alas ! beat beneath 
their diamonds." 

" Yes, I suppose v/hat Your Majesty says is, alas 1 too 
true. Ladies of the blood-royal are forbidden freedom, 
love and happiness. And when one of them happens 
to break the iron bonds of conventionality, then scandal 
quickly results ; the Press overflows with it." 

" In this case scandal would already have resulted 
had you not acted as promptly as you did," His Majesty 
said. " Where is that lad Geoffrey Hamborough now ? " 
asked the autocrat suddenl3^ 

" Living on his father's estate in Yorkshire," I 
replied. " I hope I have been able to put an end to 
that fatal folly ; but with a girl of the Grand Duchess's 
type one can never be too certain." 

" Ah ! the mischievous little minx ! " exclaimed the 
Emperor with a kindly smile. " I've watched, and 
seen how cunning she is — and how she has cleverly 
misled even me. WeU, she must alter, Trewinnard, she 
must alter — or she must be sent away to the Caucasus." 

" Where she would have her freedom, and probably 


flirt more outrageously than ever," I ventured to 

" You seem to regard her as hopeless," he said, 
looking sharply into my eyes as he leaned back in 
his chair. 

" Not entireh^ hopeless. Sire, only as a most interesting 
character stud\^" 

" I have been speaking to her father this morning, 
and I have suggested sending her to Paris, or, perhaps, 
to London ; there to live incognito under the guardian- 
ship of some responsible middle-aged person, until she 
can settle down. At present she flirts with every man 
she meets, and I am greatly concerned about her." 

" Every man is ready to flirt with Her Imperial 
Highness — first, because of her position, and, secondly, 
because of her remarkable beauty," I assured him. 

" You think her beautiful — eh, Trewinnard ? " 

" I merely echo the popular judgment," I replied. 
" It is said she is one of the most beautiful girls in all 

" Ah ! " he laughed. " Next we shall have her 
flirting with j^ou, Trewinnard. You are a bachelor. 
Do beware of the little dark-e^^ed Vv'itch, I beg of you ! " 

" Xo fear of such contretemps, Sire," I assured him 
with a smile. " I am double her age, and, moreover, 
a confirmed bachelor. The Embassy is expensive, and 
I cannot afford the luxury" of a wife — and especially an 
Imperial Grand Duchess." 

" Who knows — eh, Trewinnard ? Who knows ? " 
exclaimed the Sovereign good-naturedly. " But let's 
return to the point. Am I to understand that you are 
ready and willing to execute this secret commission 
for me ? You are well aware how highly I value the 
confidential services you have already rendered to me. 
But for you, remember, I should to-day have been a 
dead man." 


" No, Sire," I protested. " Please do not speak of 
that. It was the intervention of Providence for your 

" Ah, yes ! " he said in a low, fervent tone, his brows 
contracting. ** I thank God constantly for sparing me 
for yet another day from the hands of my unscrupulous 
enemies, so that I may work for the good of the beloved 
nation over which I am called to rule." 

There, in that room, wherein I had so often listened 
to his words of wisdom, I sat fully recognizing that 
though an Emperor and an autocrat, he was, above all, 
a Man. 

With all the heavy burden of affairs of State — and 
not even a road could be made anywhere in the Russian 
Empire, or a bridge built, or a gas-pipe laid, without 
his signature — with all the onus of the autocratic 
Sovereign-power upon his shoulders, and with that 
constant wariness which he was compelled to exercise 
against that cunning camarilla of ^linisters, yet one of 
his chief concerns was with that pretty little madcap 
Natalia, daughter of his brother, the Grand Duke 

He wished to suppress her superabundance of high 
spirits and stamp out her tomboy instincts. 

" I am reading your thoughts, Trewinnard," the 
Emperor remarked at last, pressing hij cigarette-end 
slowly into the silver ash-tray to extinguish it. " My re- 
quest has placed you in a rather awkward position — eh ? " 

" What Your Majesty has revealed to me this after- 
noon has utterly amazed me. I feel bewildered, for I 
see how dire must be the result if the truth were ever 

" It will never be. You are the only person who has 
suspicion of it besides myself." 

" And I shall never speak — never I " I assured him 


*' 1 know that you are entirely loyal to me. I am 
Emperor, it is true, but I am, nevertheless, a man of 
my word, just as you are," he replied, his intelligent 
face dark and grave. " Yes. I thought you would 
realise the seriousness of the present situation, and I 
know that you alone I can trust. I have not even told 
the Empress." 

" Why not ? " „ 

" For obvious reasons." 

I was silent. I only then realized the motive of his 

" I admit that Your Majesty's request has placed 
me in a somewhat awkward position," I said at last, 
bending forward in m}^ chair. " Truth to tell, I — well, 
I'm hardly hopeful of success, for the mission with 
which I am entrusted is so extremely difiicult, and 
so " 

" I am fully aware of that," he interrupted. " Yet 
I feel confident that you, who have saved my life on 
one occasion, will not hesitate to undertake this service 
to the best of your ability. Use the utmost discretion, 
and you may get at the truth, I do not disguise from 
you the fact that upon certain contingencies, dependent 
on the success of your mission, depends the throne of 
Russia— the dynasty. Do you follow ? " And he 
looked me straight in the face with those big, round 
brown eyes, an open, straight, honest look, as became 
a man who was fearless — an Emperor. 

" I regret that I do not exactly understand," I ven- 
tured to exclaim, whereat he rose, tall, handsome and 
muscular, and strode to the window. The band of the 
Imperial Guard was playing below in the great paved 
quadrangle, as it always did each day at four o'clock 
when the Emperor was in residence. For a few seconds 
he stood peering forth critically at the long lines of 
soldiers draw-n up across the square. Then the man 


whose word was law turned back to me with a sigh, 
saying : 

" No, Trewinnard, I suppose you do not follow me. 
It is all a mystery to you, of course " — and he paused 
— " as mysterious as the sudden disappearance of 
Madame de Rosen and her daughter Luba from Peters- 

" Disappearance ? " I echoed, amazed. " They are 
still in Petersburg. I dined with them only last 
night ! " 

" They are not now in Petersburg," replied the 
Emperor very quietly. " They left at nine o'clock this 
morning on a long journey — to Siberia." 

My heart gave a great bound. 

" To Siberia ! " I gasped, staring at him. " Are they 
exiled ? Who has done this ? " 

" I have done it," was his hard reply. " They are 
revolutionists — implicated in the attempt that was to 
be made upon me early this morning as I drove up the 

** Markoff has denounced them ? " 

" He has. See, here is a full list of names of the 
conspirators," and he took a slip of paper from his 

" And General Markoff told Your Majesty of my 
friendliness with Madame and her daughter ? " 

" Certainly." 

" Markoff lied when he denounced them as revolu- 
tionists ! " I cried angrily. " They were my friends, 
and I know them very intimately. Let me here declare. 
Sire, that no subject of Your Majesty was more loyal 
than those two ladies.. Surely the agent-provocateur 
has been at work again." 

" Unfortunately I am bound to believe the word 
of the head of m}^ political police," he said rather 


I knew, alas ! how fierce and bitter was the Emperor's 
hatred of those who plotted against his life. A single 
word against man or woman was sufficient to cause them 
to be arrested and sent to the other side of Asia, never 
again to return. 

" And where have the ladies been sent ? " I inquired. 

The Emperor consulted a slip of paper, and then 
replied : 

" To Paratovsk." 

" The most far-distant and dreaded of all the Arctic 
penal settlements ! " I cried. "It is cruel and unjust ! 
It is death to send a woman there, where it is winter for 
nine months in the year, and where darkness reigns 
five months out of the twelve." 

" I regret," replied the Emperor, with a slight 
gesture of the hand. " But they w^ere conspirators." 

" With all respect to Your Majesty, I beg to express 
an entirel}^ different opinion. Markoff has long been 
Madame de Rosen's enemy." 

His Majesty made a quick imperious gesture of 
impatience and said : 

" Please do not let us discuss the matter further 
■ — at least, until you are in a position to prove your 

" I will," I cried. " I know that your Majesty will 
never allow such injustice to be done to two innocent, 
delicate ladies." 

" If injustice has really been done, then those 
responsible shall suffer. Discover the truth, and report 
to me later," he said. 

" I will do m}^ very utmost," was my reply. 

*' And at the same time, Trewinnard, I trust you will 
endeavour to carry out the confidential mission which 
I have entrusted to you," he said. " Recollect that I 
treat you, not as a foreign diplomat, but as a loyal and 
true personal friend of myself and my house. Ah ! " 


he sighed again ; " Heaven knows, I have but few 
trustworthy ones about me." 

" I am profoundly honoured by Your Majesty's 
confidence," I assured him, bowing low. " I certainly 
shall respect it, and act exactly as you desire/' 

" The Court dislikes confidence being placed in any 
foreigner, even though he be an Englishman," the 
Emperor said in a changed voice ; " therefore, remain 
discreet always, and disclaim that I have ever treated 
you other than with the formal courtesy which is 
expected by all diplomats.'^ 

" I quite understand," I said. 

" You will see Natalia at the Court ball to-night, 
and you can speak to her diplomatically, if opportunity 
occurs. But recollect that she must know nothing of 
what I have said. I believe you know Hartwig, chief 
of the criminal detective force." 

" Quite well," was my reply. 

" Then I will give him orders. Use him as you 
wish, but tell him nothing." 

" I shall remain silent." 

" And you are entitled to leave of absence — eh ? 
You can return to England without arousing sus- 
picion ? " 

" Yes. I have eight weeks due to me." 

" Excellent. I can do nothing more — except to 
thank you, Trewinnard, to thank you most sincerely 
for assisting me, and to await word from you. Sign 
it with ' Bathildis,' and I shall know." And the great 
burly, bearded man held out his big, strong hand — the 
iron hand — as sign that my audience was at an end. 

I bowed low over it, and next moment the heavy 
white door of enamelled steel swung open and I backed 
out of the Imperial presence, the bearer of a secret as 
strange and grim as it has ever been the lot of any man 
to lock within his breast. 


What the Emperor had revealed to me was undreamed 
of by that gscy, reckless and intriguing circle which 
comprised the Russian Court — undreamed of by the 
chancelleries of Europe. 

The merest whisper of it would, I knew, stagger the 
world. And yet he had, in sheer desperation, confided 
in me a most am.azing truth. As I descended that 
broad, handsome flight of thickly-carpeted marble steps, 
where flunkeys in brilliant grey and purple livery bowed 
at every turn, and equerries and officials in smart 
uniforms came and went, my brain was awhirl at the 
magnitude of the affair, and the terrible scandal which 
must result if ever the secret were betrayed — the secret 
of a throne. 

A thought flashed across mj' mind — the knowledge 
of my own personal peril. I had enemies — bitter 
enemies. My heart sank within me as I stepped into 
the great gilded hall, for I had given a promise which I 
much feared I would never be permitted to live and 



Six hours later, accompanied by Saunderson, our tall, 
thin Charge d'i\ff aires, and the Embassy staff, all in 
our uniforms and decorations, I entered the huge 
white-and-gold ball-room of the Winter Palace, where 
the Russian Court, the representatives of exclusive 
Society, the bureaucracy of the Empire and the corps 
diplomatique had assembled. 

The scene was perhaps the most brilliant and 
picturesque that could be witnessed anyv/here in the 
world. Beneath the myriad lights of those huge cut- 
glass chandeliers, and reflected by the gigantic mirrors 


upon the walls, were hundreds of gold-laced uniforms 
of every shade and every style. Across the breasts of 
many of the men were gay-coloured scarves of the various 
orders, with diamond stars, wliile others wore around 
their necks parti-coloured ribbons with enamelled 
crosses at their throat, or rows of decorations across 
their breasts. 

And to this phantasmagoria of colour, as all stood 
in little groups chattering and awaiting Their Majesties, 
was added that of the splendid long-trained dresses of 
the v/omen, nearly all of whom wore their diamond 
tiaras, or diamond ornaments in their corsage. 

It was indeed, a cosmopolitan gathering, half of 
Russians and half of the diplomatic set, and around 
me, as I bowed over the hand of a Vv-ell-known Baroness, 
wife of the Minister of War, I heard animated chatter 
in half a dozen tongues. The Emperor had returned, 
and there would now be a month of gaiety before he 
retired for the summer to Gatchina. The spring season 
in Petersburg had been cut short — first by the indisposi- 
tion of the Empress, and afterwards by reason of the 
Emperor's tour to the distant shore of the Caspian. 

Therefore at this, the delayed Court ball, every- 
body who was anybody in Russia was present. 

In one end of the huge Renaissance salon, with its 
wonderful painted ceiling and gilded cupids, was a 
great semicircular alcove, with a slightly raised dais, 
v.-hereon sat the Dowager-Empress, the Grand 
Duchesses and those of the blood-royal, with their 
attendant ladies, while the male members of the Court 
lounged behind. 

The opposite end of the great ball-room led to another 
salon with parquet floor, decorated in similar style, 
and with many mirrors, and almost as large, while beyond 
was a somewhat smaller room, the whole effect being 
one of gorgeous grandeur and immensity. 


I had paused to chat with a stout lady in cream, 
who wore a beautiful tiaia, Princess Lovovski, wife of 
the Governor-General of Finland, and she had com- 
menced to tell me the latest tit -bit of scandal concern- 
ing the wife of a certain War Office official, a matter 
which did not interest me in the least, when suddenly 
there came three loud taps — the taps of the Grand 
Chamberlain — announcing the entrance of His Majesty. 
As by enchantment a wide door in the side of the ball- 
room flew open, and the glittering throng, bejewelled 
and perfumed, flashing colours amid plumes, aigrettes 
and flowers, laughing and murmuring to the clink of 
gala swords and sabres, was struck to silence. 

His Majesty passed — a tall, commanding figure in a 
white uniform covered with the stars, crosses and many- 
coloured ribbons of the various European orders. 
Beneath the thousand lights the bare shoulders of the 
beautiful women inclined profound!}'. 

Then again the loud chatter recommenced. 

The Emperor's presence, tall, erect, muscular, was 
indeed a regal one. He looked every^ inch a ruler and an 
autocrat as he advanced to the alcove, where the whole 
Court had risen to receive him, and with a quick gesture 
he gave the signal for dancing to commence. 

I retreated to the wall, being in no humour to dance, 
and stood gazing at him. He seemed, indeed, a 
dift'erent person to that deep-e^^ed, earnest man in dark- 
blue serge who had sat chatting with me so affably 
six hours ago. He was in that hour a man, but now the 
centre of that gay patrician throng, he was ruler, the 
autocrat who by a stroke of the grey quill could banish 
to the mines or the oitblieites smy of those of his sub- 
jects who bowed before him — sweep them out of exis- 
tence as completely as though the grav^e had claimed 
them ; for every exile lost his identity and became a 
mere number ; his estate was administered as though 


he were dead, and apportioned, with the usual for- 
feiture to the State, among his heirs. So that it was 
impossible for an exile to be traced. 

I thought of Madame Marya de Rosen and of poor 
little Luba. Ah ! I wondered how many delicate 
women and handsome, intelligent men who had danced 
over that polished floor were now dragging out their 
weary lives in those squalid, filthy Yakut yaurtas of 
Eastern Siberia. How many, alas ! had, in innocence, 
fallen victims to that corrupt bureaucracy which always 
concealed the truth from His Majesty. 

To the camarilla, a dozen or so men who were present 
there in brilhant uniforms and wearing the Cross of 
St. Andrew, with the pale-blue ribbon, the highest 
Order of the Empire, bestowed, upon them for their 
" fidelity," that present reign of terror was solely due. 
It was to the interests of those men that the Emperor 
should be perpetually terrorized. Half those so-called 
conspiracies were the work of the Secret Police them- 
selves and their agents-provocateurs ; and hundreds of 
innocent persons were being spirited away without 
trial to the frozen wastes of Northern and Eastern 
Siberia, upon no other charge than the trivial one that 
they were " dangerous " persons ! 

Madame de Rosen and her pretty daughter had 
fallen victims of the bitter unscrupulousness of that 
short, stout, grey-moustached man, who at that moment 
was bowing so obsequiously before his Sovereign, the 
man who was one of the greatest powers in the Empire, 
General Serge Markoff, Chief of Secret Police. 

The first dance was in progress. Pretty women, 
with their smart, good-looking cavaliers, were whirling 
about me to the slow, tuneful strains of one of the 
latest of Strauss's waltzes, when Colonel Mellini, the 
Itahan military attache, halted before me to chat. He 
had just returned from leave, and had much Embass}^ 


gossip to relate to me from the Eternal City, where I 
had served for two years. 

" I hear," he remarked at last, " that another plot 
was discovered early this morning — a desperate one in 
the Nevski. Markoft really seems ubiquitous." 

I looked into his dark eyes and smiled. 

" Ah ! I see, caro mio," he laughed. " Your thoughts 
are similar to mine — eh ? These plots are a little too 
frequent to be genuine," and, lowering his voice to a 
whisper, he added : "I can't understand how His 
Majest}^ does not see through the transparenc}^ of it. 
They are terrorizing him every day — every hour. A 
man of less robust physique or mental balance would 
surely be driven out of his mind." 

" I agree with j^ou entirely, my dear friend. But," 
I added, " this is not the place to discuss affairs of 
State. Ah, 3,Iadame ! " and turning, I bent over the 
gloved hand of old Madame Neilidoff, one of the 
leaders of Society in Moscow, with whom I stood 
chatting for a long time, and who kindly invited me 
for a week out at her great country estate at Sukova 
in Tver. 

Captain Stoyanovitch, gay Vvith decorations, hurried 
past me on some errand for the Emperor, and gave me 
a nod as he went on, while young Bertram Tucker, our 
third secretary-, came up and began to chat with the 
yellow-toothed old lady, who was such a power in the 
Russian social circle. 

I suppose it must have been nearly two o'clock, when, 
after wandering through the salons, greeting many men 
and women I knew, I suddenly heard a voice behind me 
exclaim in English : 

" HuUoa, old Uncle Colin ! Am I too small to be 
recognized ? " 

I turned quickly and confronted the pretty laughing 
girl of nineteen of whom I had been in search all the 


night — Her Imperial Highness the Grand-Duch^s 
Natalia Olga Nicolaievna. 

Tall, slim, vvith a perfect figure, she was dressed in 
cream, a light simple gown which suited her youth and 
extreme beauty admirably. Across her dark, well- 
dressed hair she wore a narrow band, of forget-me-nots ; 
at her throat was a large single emerald of great value, 
suspended by a fine chain of platinum, a present from 
His Majesty, while on the edge of her low-cut corsage 
she wore a bow of pale blue ribbon embroidered in 
silver with a Russian motto, and from it was suspended 
a medallion set with diamonds and bearing in the 
centre the enamelled figure of Saint Catherine — the 
exclusive Order of Saint Catherine bestowed upon the 
Grand Duchesses. 

" How miserable you look, Uncle Colin ! " exclaimed 
the dark-eyed girl before I could reply. " Whatever 
is the matter ? Is the British Lion sick — or what ? " 

" I really must apologize to Your Imperial Highness," 
I said, bowing. " I was quite unaware that I looked 
miserable. I surely could never look miserable in your 

We both laughed, while standing erect and defiant, 
before me she held up a little ivory fan, threatening to 
chastise me with it. 

" Well," I said," and so you are safely back again in 
Petersburg, after aU your travels ! Why, it's surely 
eight weeks since we were at the ball at "the Palace of 
your uncle, the Grand Duke Serge." 

" W^here you danced with me. Do you remember 
how we laughed ? You said some nasty sarcastic things, 
so I punished you. I told Captain Stoyanovitch and 
some of the others that you had flirted with me and 
kissed me. So there ! " 

I looked at her in stern reproach. 

" Ah ! " I said. " So that is the source of all those 


rumours — eh ? You're a very wicked girl," I added, 
" even though you are a Grand Duchess." 

" Well, I suppose Grand Duchesses are in no way 
different to other girls — eh ? " she pouted. " Some- 
times I wish I were back again at school at Eastbourne. 
Ah ! what grand times I used, to have in those days — 
hocke}^ and tennis and. gym, and I was not compelled 
to perform all sorts of horrible, irksome etiquette, and 
be surrounded by this crowd of silly dressed-up apes. 
Why, Uncle Colin, these are not men — all these tight- 
uniformed popinjays at Court." 

" Hush, my child ! " I said. " Hush ! You will be 

" And I don't care if I am. Surel}^ a girl can speak 
out what she thinks ! " 

" In England, yes, in certain circumstances, but in 
Russia — and especially at Court — never ! " 

" Oh, you are so horribly old-fashioned. Uncle Colin. 
When shall I bring you up-to-date ? " cried the petted 
and spoiled j^oung lady, whose two distinctions were 
that she was one of the most beautiful girls in all Russia, 
and the favourite niece of the Tzar Alexander. She 
had nicknamed me " Uncle," on account of my superior 
age, long ago. 

" And you are utterly incorrigible," I said, trying to 
assume an angry look. 

" Ah ! You're going to lecture me ! " she exclaimed 
with another pout. " I suppose I ought never to dance 
at all — eh ? It's wicked in your eyes, isn't it ? You 
are perhaps, one of those exemplary people that I 
heard so much of when in England — such an expressive 
name — the Kill- joys ! " 

" No, Your Highness," I protested. " I really don't 
think I'm a killjoy. If I were, I couldn't very well be 
a diplomat. I " 

" But all diplomats are trained liars," she asserted 


with abrupt frankness. "The Emperor told mo so 
only the other day. He said the}^ were men one should 
never trust." 

" I admit that, without the lie artistique, diplomacy 
would really be non-existent," I said, with a laugh. 
" But is not the whole political world everywhere in 
Europe a world of vain promise, intrigue and shame ? " 

" Just as our social world seems to me," she admitted. 

" Ah ! Then you are beginning to realize the hollow 
unreality of the world about you — eh ? " I said. 

" Dear me ! " she exclaimed, " you talk just like a 
bishop ! I really don't know what has come to my dear 
old Uncle Colin. You must be ill, or something. You 
never used to be like this," she added, with a sigh and 
a well-feigned look of regret that was really most amus- 
ing, while at the same time she made eyes at me. 

Truly, she was a most charming httle madcap, this 
Imperial Grand Duchess — the most charming in all 
Europe, as the diplomatic circle had long ago agreed. 

So she had taken revenge upon me for uttering words 
of wisdom by telling people that I had flirted with and 
kissed her ! She herself was responsible for the chatter 
which had gone round, with many embellishments, 
concerning myself, and how deeply I was in love with 
her. I wondered if it had reached the Emperor's ears ? 

I felt annoyed, I here confess. And yet so sweet 
and irresponsible was she, so intelligent and quick 
at repartee, that next moment I had forgiven her. 

And I frankly told her so. 

" My dear Uncle Colin, it would have been all the 
same," she declared airily. " You shouldn't have 
lectured me. I assure you I have had enough of that 
at home. Ever since I came back from England every- 
body seems to have conspired to tell me that I'm the 
most terrible girl in Russia. Father holds up his hands ; 
why, I really don't know." 


"Because 3^ou are so extremely unconventional/' 
I said. " A girl of the people can act just as she likes ; 
but you are a Grand Duchess — and you can't." 

" Bother my birth. That's m}^ misfortune. I wish 
I were a shop-girl, or a typist, or something. Then 
I should be free ! " she exclaimed impatiently. " As 
it is, I can't utter a word or move a httle finger wdthout 
the whole of Russia Ufting up their hands in pious 
horror. I tell you, Uncle Colin," she added, her fine, 
big, dark eyes fixed upon me, " I'm sick of it all. It 
is simph^ unbearable. Ah ! how I wish I were back at 
dear old Southdene College. I hate Russia and all 
her works ! " 

" Hush ! " I cried again. " You really must not 
say that. Remember your position — the niece of His 

" I repeat it ! " she cried in desperation, her well- 
formed little mouth set firmly. " And I don't care who 
hears me — even if it's Uncle Alexander himself ! " 



At Her Highness's side I had strolled through the 
smaller salon and along the several great corridors to 
the splendid winter garden, on the opposite side pf the 
palace. It was one of the smaller courtyards which had 
been covered in with glass and filled with high palms 
and tropical flowers ablaze with bloom. There, in that 
northern latitude, Asiatic and African plants flourished 
and flowered, with httle electric lights cunningly con- 
cealed amid the leaves. 

Several other couples were seated there, away from 
the whirl and gUtter of the Court ; but taking no notice, 
we halted at two wicker chairs set invitingly in a comer. 


Into one of these she flung herself with a Uttle sigh, and, 
bowdng, I took the other. 

I sat and watched her. Her beauty was, indeed, 
exquisite. She had the long, tender, fluent lines of 
body and limb, the round waist, the deep chest and small 
bust, the sturdy throat of those ancient virgins that 
the greatest sculptors of the world worshipped and 
wrought into imperishable stone. She was not very 
tall, though she appeared so. It was something in pose 
and movement that did it. A beautiful soul looked 
from Her Highness's beautiful eyes whenever she smiled 
upon me. 

I found myself examining ever}^ line and turn and 
contour of the prettity-poised head. She was dark, 
with that lovely complexion like pure alabaster tinted 
with rose sometimes seen in Russian women. Her 
eyes, under the sweeping lashes, seemed capable of 
untold depths of tenderness. Hers was the perfect 
oval of a young face across whose innocent girhshness 
experience had written no hue, passion cast no shadow. 

" One thing I've heard to-day has greatly pained 
me," I said presently to my dainty httle companion. 
" You'U forgive me for speaking quite frankly — won't 
you ? " 

" Certainly, Uncle Cohn," she repUed, opening 
her big eyes in surprise. " But I thought you had 
brought me here to flirt with me — not to talk seriously." 

" I must talk seriously for a moment," I said apolo- 
getically. "It is in Your Highness's interests. Listen. 
I heard something to-day at which I know that you 
yourself will be greatly anno^^ed. I heard it whispered 
that Geoffrey Hamborough had killed himself because 
of you." 

" Geoffrey dead ! " she gasped, starting up and staring 
at me, her face blanched in an instant. 

" No. He is not dead," I rephed calmly, " for as 


soon as I heard the report I sent hrni a wire to Yorkshire 
and to the Travellers', in London. He replied from the 
club half an hour before I came here." 

" But who could have spread such a report ? " the 
girl asked. " It could only be done to cast opprobrium 
upon me — to show that because — because we parted — 
he had taken his hfe. It's really too cruel," she declared, 
and I saw hot teairs welling in her beautiful eyes. 
" I agree. But you must deny the report." 
" Who told you ? " 

" I regret that I must not say. It was, however, 
a friend of yours." 
" A man ? " 

I nodded in the affirmative. 

" Ah ! " she cried impatiently. " You diplomats 
are always so full of secrets. Really you must teU me, 
Uncle Colin." 

" I can't," was my brief reply. " I only ask you 
to refute the untruth." 

" I wiU — at once. Poor Geoffrey." 
" Have you heard from him lately ? " I asked. 
" You're ver}^ inquisitive. I have not." 
" I'm very glad of that," I answered her. " You 
know how greatly the affair annoyed the Emperor. 
You were awfully injudicious. It's a good job that I 
chanced to meet you both at the station in Moscow." 

" Well," she laughed, " I was going to England 
with him, and we had arranged to be married at a 
registrar's office in London. Only you stopped us — 
you nasty old thing I " 

" And you ought to be very glad that I recognized 
you just in the nick of time. Ten minutes later and 
you would have left Moscow. Think of the scandal — 
the elopement of a young Imperial Grand Duchess of 
Russia with an EngHsh commoner." 

" WeU, and isn't an English commoner as good, and 


perhaps better, than one of these uniformed and deco- 
rated Russian aristocrats ? I am Russian," she added 
frankly, " but I have no love for the Muscovite man." 

" It was a foolish escapade," I declared ; " but it's 
all over now. The one consolation is that nobody 
knows the actual truth." 

" Except His Majesty. I told him everything ; how 
I had met Geoffrey in Hampshire when I went to stay 
with Lady Hexworthy ; how we used to meet in secret, 
and all that," she said. 

" Well now," I exclaimed, looking straight into her 
face, " I want to ask you a plain open question. I 
have a motive in doing so — one which I will explain to 
you after you have answered me honestly and truth- 
fully. I " 

" At it again I " cried the pretty madcap. " You're 
really not yourself to-night. Uncle Cohn. What is 
the matter with you ? " 

" Simply I want to know the truth — whether there 
is still any love between Geoffrey and yourself ? " 

" Ah ! no," she sighed, pulling a grimace. " It's all 
over between us. It broke his heart, poor fellow, but 
some kind friend, at your Embassy, I think, wrote and 
told him about Paul Urusoff and — well, he wrote me a 
hasty letter. Then I rephed, a couple of telegrams, 
and we agreed to be strangers for ever. And so ends 
the story. Like a novel, isn't it ? " she laughed merrily. 

My eyes were fixed upon her. I was wondering if 
she were really telling me the truth. As the Emperor 
had most justly said, she was an artful little minx 
where her love-affairs were concerned. 

Colonel Polivanoff, the Grand Chamberlain of the 
Court, crossed the great palm-garden at that moment, 
and bow 5 1 to my pretty companion. 

" But," she added, turning back to me, " people ought 
not to say that he's been foolish enough to do away 



with himself on my account. It only shows that I 
must have made some enemies of whom I'm quite 

"Everyone has enemies," I answered, her. "You 
are no exception. But, is it reall}^ true that Geoffrey 
is no longer in your thoughts ? " I asked her very 

" Truth and honour," she declared, v/ith equal gravity. 

"Then who is the fortunate young man at present 
—eh ? " 

" That's my own secret. Uncle Colm," she declared, 
drawing herself up. "I'll ask you the same question. 
Who is the lady you are in love with at the present 
moment ? " 

" ShaU I tell you ? " 

" Yes. It would be interesting." 

"I'm in love with you." 

" Ah ! " she cried, nodding her head and laughing. 
" I thought as much. You've brought me out here to 
flirt with me. I wonder if you'll kiss me — eh ? " she 
asked mischievously. 

" I will, if you tempt me too much," I said threaten- 
ingly. -" And then the report you've spread about v/ill 
be the truth." 

She laughed merrily and tapped, my hand with her 

" I never can get the better of you, dear old. uncle," 
she declared. " You always have the last word, and 
you're such a delightfully old-fashioned person. Now 
let's try and be serious." And she settled herself and, 
turning to me, added : " Why do you wish to know 
about Geoffrey Hamborough ? " 

" For several reasons," I said. " First, I think Your 
Highness knows me quite well enough to be av/are that 
I am your very sincere friend." 

" My best friend," she declared quickly ; her manner 


changed in an instant from merry irresponsibility to 
deep earnestness. " That night on the railway plat- 
form at Moscow you saved me making a silly fool of 
myself. It was most generous of the Emperor to forgive 
me. I know how you pleaded for me. He told me 

" I am your friend," I replied. " Now, as to the 
future. You tell me that you find all the Court etiquette 
irksome, and that you are antagonistic to this host of 
yoimg men about you. You are, in brief, sorry that you 
are back in Russia. Is that so ? " 

"It is so exactly." 
. " And how about Prince Urusoff — eh ? " 

" I haven't seen him for fully three months, and I 
don't even know where he is. I believe he's with his 
regiment, the 21st Dragoons of White Russia, somewhere 
away in the Urals. I heard that the Emperor sent him 
there. But he certainly need not have done so. I 
found him only a foolish young boy." 

Her Imperial Highness was a young lady of very 
keen intelligence. After several governesses at home, 
she had been sent to Paris, and afterwards to a college 
at Eastbourne — v/here she was known as Miss Natalia 
Gottorp, the latter being one of the family names of the 
Imperial Romanoffs — and. there she had completed 
her education. From her childhood she had always 
had an English governess, Miss West, consequently, 
v.^ith a Russian's adaptability, she spoke English almost 
without a trace of accent. Though so full of fun and 
frolic, and so ready to carry on a violent flirtation, yet 
she was, on the other hand, very thoughtful and level- 
headed, with a keen sense of humour, and a nature 
extremely sympathetic with any person in distress, 
no matter whom they might be. Hers was a bright, 
pleasant nature, a smiling face, and ever-twinkling 
eve full of mischief and merriment. 


" Well," I said, looking into her face, " I've been 
thinking about you a good deal since you've been away 
— and wondering." 

" Wondering what ? " 

■ ' Whether, as you have no love for Russia, you 
might not like to go back to England ? " I said slowly. 

"To England!" she cried in delight. "Ah! If 
I only could ! I love England, and especially East- 
bourne, with the sea and the promenade, the golf, and 
the concerts at the Devonshire Park, and all that. Ah I 
I only wish I could go." 

" But if you went you'd, fall in love with some young 
fellow, and then we should have another scandal at 
Court," I said. 

" I wouldn't. BeHeve me, I wouldn't, reaUy, Uncle 
Colin," she pleaded, looking up into my face with 
almost childish simplicity. 

I shook my head dubiously. 

"All I've told you is the real truth," she assured 
me. "I've only amused myself. Every girl hkes 
men to make love to her. Why should I be so bitterly 
condemned ? " '^ 

' ' Because you are not a commoner. " "^.h^ 

" That's just it. But if I went to England and 
lived again as Miss Nataha Gottorp, nobody would 
know who I am, and I could have a really splendid 
time. Here," she cried, " all the glitter and etiquette 
of Court life stifle me. I've been bored to death on the 
tour round the Empire, but couldn't you try and induce 
the Emperor to let me go back to England ? Do, Uncle 
Colin, there's a dear. A word from the Emperor, and 
father would let me go in a moment. I wish poor mother 
were aHve. She would soon let me go, I know." 

" And what would you do in England if you went 
back ? " ^ 

" Why, I'd have my old governess. Miss West — the 


one I had at Strelna — to live with me, and I'd be ever 
so happy. I'd take a house on the sea-front at East- 
bourne, so as to be near the old college, and see the 
girls. Try what you can do with Uncle Alexander, 
won't you ? there's a dear old uncle," she added, 
in her most persuasive tones. 

" Well," I said, with some show of reluctance, " if I 
succeed, you will be responsible to me, remember. 
No flirtations." 

'' I promise," she said. " Here's my hand," and 
she put her tiny white-gloved hand into mine. 

" And if I heard of any affectionate meetings I should 
put down my foot at once." 

" Yes, that's agreed," she exclaimed, with enthu- 
siasm. " At once." 

" And I should, perhaps, want you to help me in 
England," I added slowly, looking into her pretty face 
the while. 

'"' Help you, in what way ? " she asked. 

" At present, I hardly know. But if I wanted assist- 
ance might I count on you ? " 

" Count on me. Uncle Colin ! " she echoed. " Why, 
of CDurse, you can ! Look at my indebtedness to you, 
and it will be increased if you can secure me permission 
to go back to England." 

" Well," I said, " I'll do what I can. But you have 
told me no untruths to-night, not one — eh ? " I asked 
very 'seriously. " If so, admit it." 

'■ Not one. I swear I haven't." 

" Very well," I said. " Then I'll do my best." 

" Ah ! you are a real dear ! " cried the girl enthu- 
siastically. " I almost feel as though I could hug 
and kiss you ! " 

"Better not," I laughed. "There are some people 
sitting over there, and they would talk — eh ? " 

" Y:;5," she said slowly. " I suppose really one ought 


to be a bit careful, after ail. When will you see the 
Emperor ? " 

" Perhaps to-morrow — if he gives me audience." 

Then I related to her the story of the attempt in the 
Nevski on the previous morning, and the intention of 
assassinating the Emperor as he drove from the Nicholas 
station to the Palace. 

" Ah, yes ! " she cried. "It is all too dreadful. 
For seven weeks we have lived in constant terror of 
explosions. I could not go through it again for ail the 
world. Those days in that stuffy armoured train were 
simply awful. His Majesty only undertook the journey 
in order to defy those who declared that some terrible 
catastrophe would happen. The Empress knew nothing 
of the danger until we had started." 

" And yet the only danger lay within half a mile 
of the Palace on your return," I said. " There have, 
I hear, been thirty-three arrested to-d5y, including my 
friends Madame de Rosen and Luba. You knew them." 

" Mary a de Rosen ! " gasped the Grand Duchess, 
staring at me. " She is not under arrest ? " 

" Alas ! she is already on her way, with her daughter, 
to Eastern Siberia." 

" But that is impossible. She was no revolutionist. 
I knew them both very intimately." 

" General Markoff washer enemy," I said in a whisper. 

" Ah, yes ! I hate that man ! " cried Her High- 
ness. " He is a clever liar who has worm.ed himself 
completely into the Emperor's confidence, and now, 
in order to sustain a reputation as a discoverer of plots, 
he is compelled to first manufacture them. Hundreds 
of innocent men and women have been exiled by ad- 
ministrative order during the past twelve months for 
comphcity in conspiracies which have never had any 
existence save in the wicked imagination of that brutal 
official. I know it — / can prove it ! " 


" Hush ! " I said. " You may be overheard. You 
surely do not wish the man to become your enemy. 
Remember, he is all-powerful here — in Russia." 

" I will speak the truth when the time comes," she 
said vehemently. " I will show the Emperor certain 
papers which have come into my own hands which will 
prove how His Majesty has been misled, tricked and 
terrorized by this Markoff, and certain of his bosor* 
friends in the Cabinet." 

"It is really most unwise to speak so loudly," I 
declared. " Somebody may overhear." 

" Let them overhear ! " cried the girl angrily. " I 
do not fear Markoff in the least. I will, before long, 
open the Emperor's eyes, never fear — and justice shall 
be done. These poor wretches shall not be sent to the 
dungeons beneath the lake at Schusselburg, or to the 
frozen wastes of Yakutsk, in order that Markoff shall 
remain in power. Ah ! he little dreams how much 
I know ! " she laughed harshly. 

" It would hardly be wise of you to take any such 
action. You might fail — and — then " 

" I cannot fail to estabhsh at least the innocence 
of Madame de Rosen and of Luba. The reason why 
they have been sent to Siberia is simple. Into Madame 
de Rosen's possession there recently came certain com- 
promising letters concerning General Markoff. He 
discovered this, and hence her swift exile without trial. 
But, Uncle Colin," she added, " those letters are in my 
possession I Madame de Rosen gave them to me the 
night before I went south with the Emperor, because 
she feared they might be stolen by some police-spy. 
And I iiave kept them in a place of safety until such 
convenient time when I can place them before His 
Majesty. The latter will surely see that justice is done, 
and then the disgraceful career of this arch-enemy of 
Russian peace and Uberty will be at an end." 


" Hush ! " I cried anxiously, for at th?.t moment 
a tall man, in the bright green uniform of the Lithuanian 
Hussars, whose face I could not see, passed close b}- us, 
with a handsome middle-aged woman upon his arm. 
" Hush ! Do, for heaven's sake, be careful, I beg of 
you!" I exclaimed. "Such intention should not 
even be whispered. These Palace walls have ears, for 
spies are everywhere ! " 



Next day was Wednesday. 

At half-past five in the afternoon I was seated in 
mj.' room at the Embassy, busy cop3-ing out the last of 
my despatches which were to be sent that v/eek by 
Foreign Office messenger to London. 

The messenger himself, in the person of m}^ friend 
Captain Hubert Taylor, a thin, long-limbed, dark- 
haired cosmopolitan, was stretched lazily in my chair 
smoking a cigarette, impatient for me to finish, so' that 
the white canvas bag could be sealed and he could get 

The homeward Xord express to Ostend was due to 
leave at six o'clock ; therefore he had not much time 
to spare. 

" Do hurry up, old rrian," he urged, glancing at his 
watch. "If it isn't important, keep it over until 
Wednesday week. Despatches are like wine, they 
improve with keeping." 

" Shut up ! " I exclaimed, for I saw I had a good deal 
yet to copy — the result of an important inquiry regard- 
ing affairs south of the Caspian, which was urgently 
required at Downing Street. Our Consul in Baku had 


been travelling for three months in order to supply 
the information. 

" Well, if I miss the train I really don't mind, my 
dear Colin. I can do quite well with a few days' rest. 
I was down in Rome ten days ago ; and, besides, I 
only got here the night before last." 

" I do wish you'd be quiet, Taylor," I cried. " I 
can't write while you chatter." 

So he ht a fresh cigarette and repossessed himself 
in patience until at last I had finished my work, stuck 
down the long envelope \'vith the printed address, and 
placed it with thirty or forty other letters into the canvas 
bag ; this I carefully sealed with wax with the Embassy 

" There you are ! " I exclaimed at last. " You've 
plenty of time for the train — and to spare." 

" I shouldn't have had if I hadn't hurried you up, 
my dear boy. Everyone seems asleep here. It shows 
your chief's away on leave. You should put in a day 
in Paris. They're active there. It would be an eye- 
opener for you." 

" Paris isn't Petersburg," I laughed. 

"And an attache isn't a foreign service messenger," 
he declared. " Government pays you fellows to look 
ornamental, while we messengers have to travel in hot 
haste and hve in those rocldng sleeping-cars of the 

" Horribly hard work to spend one's days travelling 
from capital to capital," I said, well knowing that 
this remark to a foreign service messenger is as a red 
rag to a bull. 

" Work, my dear fellow. You try it for a month 
and see," Ta^ior snapped. 

" Well," i asked with a laugh, " any particular 
news in London ? " for the messengers are bearers of 
all the diplomatic gossip from embassy to embassy*. 


" Oh, well — old Petheridge, in the Treaty Depart- 
ment, is retiring this month, and Jack Scrutton is 
going to be transferred from Rome to Lima. Some old 
fool in the Commons has, I hear, got wdnd of that bit 
of scandal in Madrid — you know the story. Councillor 
of Embassy and Spanish Countess — and threatens to 
put down a question concerning it. I hear there's a 
dickens of a row over it. The Chief is furious. Oh ! 
— and I saw your Chief in the St. James's Club the day 
I left London. He'd just come from Windsor — been 
kissing hands, or something. Well," he added, " I 
suppose I may as well have some cigarettes before I 
go, even though you don't ask me. But they are always 
pro bono, I know. The Embassy at Petersburg is always 
noted for its hospitahty and its cigarettes ! " And he 
emptied the contents of m}^ cigarette-box into the capa- 
cious case he took from his pocket. 

'' Here you are," I said, taking from my table another 
sealed despatch bearing a large blue cross upon it, 
sho^^dng that it was a confidential documxcnt in cipher 
upon affairs of State. 

" Oh, hang ! " he cried. " I didn't know you had 
one of those." 

And then, unbuttoning his waistcoat, he fumbled 
about his waist, and at last placed it carefully in the 
narrow pocket of the belt he wore beneath his clothes, 
buttoning the flap over the pocket. 

" Well," he said at last, putting on his overcoat, 
" so long, old man. I'll just have time. I wonder 
what old Ivanoff, in the restaurant-car, will have for 
dinner to-night ? Bortch, of course, and caviare." 

"You fellows have nothing else to think about 
but your food," I laughed. 

" Food — yes, it's railway-food with a vengeance 
in this God-forgotten country. Lots to drink, but 
nothing decent to eat." 


And taking the little canvas bag he shook my hand 
heartily and strode out. 

I stood for some time gazing through the open window 
out upon the sunlit Neva across to the grim fortress 
on the opposite bank — the prison of many terrible tales. 

My thoughts were running, just as they had run all 
day, upon that strange suspicion which the Emperor 
had confided to me. It seemed too remarkable, too 
strange, too amazing to be true. 

And again before my vision there arose the faces of 
those two refined and innocent ladies, Madame de 
Rosei and her daughter, wfio had been so suddenly 
hurried away to a living TOmb in that far-off Arctic 
region. I remembered what the little Grand Duchess 
had :old me, and wondered whether her allegations were 
reall/ true. 

I 7/diS wondering if she would permit me to see those 
i ncr jninating letters which Madame had given to her 
fo^ safe-keeping, for at aU costs I felt that, for the safety 
of the Emperor and the peace and prosperity of Russia, 
tie country should be rid of General Serge Markoff. 

x\nd yet the difficulties were, I knew, insurmountable. 
His Majesty, hearing of these constant plots being 
discovered and ever listening to highly-coloured stories 
of the desperate attempts of revolutionists, naturally 
beheved his personal safety to 'be due to this man wham 
he had appointed as head of the police of the Empire. 
To any word said against Serge Markoff he turned a 
deaf ear, and put it down to jealousy, or to some in- 
genious plot to withdraw from his person the constant 
vigilance which his beloved Markoff had. established. 
More than once I had been bold enough to venture to 
hint that all those plots might not be genuine ones ; 
but I had quickly understood that such suggestion was 
regarded by the Emperor as a slur cast upon his favourite 
official and personal friend. 


The more I reflected, the more unwise seemed that 
sudden outburst of my pretty little companion in the 
winter garden on the night before. If anyone had over- 
heard her threat, then no doubt it would reach the ears 
of that man who daily swept so man}^ innocent persons 
into the prisons and. etapes beyond the Urals. I knew, 
too well, of those lists of names which he placed before 
the Emperor, and to which he asked the Imperial signa- 
ture, without even giving His Majesty an opportunity 
to glance at them. 

Truly, those were dark days. Life in Russia at that 
moment was a most uncertain existence, for anyone 
incurring the displeasure of General Markoff, or any of 
his friends, was as quickly and effectively removed as 
though death's sword had struck them. 
* Much perturbed, and not knowing how to act iji face 
of what the Emperor had. revealed to me, I was timing 
from the vvindow back to my writing-table, wher. one 
of the English footmen entered, with a card! 

" Oh, show him up. Green. And bring sane 
cigarettes," I said. 

My visitor was Ivan Hartwig, the famous chief of tie 
Russian Criminal Detective Service — an entirely dis- 
tinct department from the Secret PoUce. 

A few moments later he was ushered in by Green, 
and, bovring, took the hand I offered him. 

A lean, bony-faced man, of average height, alert, 
clean-shaven, and aged about forty-five. His hair 
was slightly streaked with grey, and his eyes, small 
a.nd shrewd, beamed behind a pair of round gold-rimmed 
pince-nez. I had never seen him in glasses before, 
but I only supposed that he had suddenly developed 
myopia for some specific purpose. As he smiled in 
greeting me, his narrow jaws widened, displaying an 
even row of white teeth, while the English he spoke was 
as perfect as my ovvn. At that moment, in his glasses. 


his black morning-coat and grey trousers, he looked 
mora like a grave family physician than a police officer 
whose career was world-famous. 

And yet he was a man of striking appearance. His 
'-^road white forehead, his deep-set eyes so full of fire 
rid expression, his high, protruding cheek-bones, and 
his narrowing chin were all characteristics of a man of 
remarkable power and intelligence. His, indeed, was 
a face that would arrest attention an\'^vhere ; hence the 
hundred and one disguises which he so constantly adopted. 

" I have had private audience of His Majesty this 
afternoon, Mr. Trewinnard," he said, as he took the chair 
I offered him. " He has sent me to you. You wish to 
see me." 

" Yes," I said. " I need your assistance." 

" So His Majesty has told me, but he explained 
nothing of the affair. He commanded me to place 
myself entirely at your disposal," replied the man, 
who, in himself, was a man of mystery. 

His nationality was obscure to most people, yet 
we at the Embassy knew that he was in reality a 
British subject, and. that Ivan Hartwig was merely 
the Russian equivalent of Evan Hardwicke. 

I handed him the box of cigarettes v/hich Green 
■lad replenished, and took one myself. 

As he slowly lit his, I recollected what a strange 
career he had had. Graduating from Scotland Yard, 
where on account of his knowledge of German and 
Russian he had been mainly employed in the arrest of 
alien criminals in England, he had for several years 
served under Monsieur Goron, Prefet of Police of Paris, 
and after being attached to the Tzar on one of his 
visits to the French capital, had been personally invited 
by the Emperor to become head of the Criminal Investi- 
gation Department of Russia. 

He was a quiet-spoken, alert, elusive, but very 


conscientious man, who had made a study of crime 
from a psychological standpoint, his many successes 
being no doubt due to his marvellously minute examina- 
tion of motives and his methodical reasoning upon the 
most abstruse clues. There was nothing of the ordinary 
blunt official detective about him. He was a man of 
extreme refinement, an omnivorous reader and a dihgent 
student of men. He was a passionate collector of coins, 
a bachelor, and an amateur player of the violin. I 
believe that he had never experienced what fear was, 
and certainly withm my ovrn knowledge, he had had 
a dozen narrow escapes from the vengeance of the 
Terrorists, Once a bomb was purposely exploded in a 
room into which he and his men went to arrest two 
students in Moscow, and not one present escaped death 
except Hartwig himself. 

And as he now sat there before me, so quiet and 
attentive, blinking at me through those gold-rimmed 
pince-nez, none would certainly take him for the man 
whose hairbreadth escapes, constant disguises, exciting 
adventures and mar\'ellous successes in the tracking 
of criminals all over Europe had so often amazed the 
readers of newspapers the world over. 

" Well, Mr. Hartwig," I said in a low voice, after 
I had risen and satisfied myself that Green had closed 
the door, " the matter is one of strictest confidence — 
a suspicion which I may at once tell you is the Emperor's 
own personal affair. To myself alone he has confided 
it, and I requested that you might be allowed to assist 
me in finding a solution of the problem." 

"I'm much gratified," he said. " As an English- 
man, you know, I believe, that I am ever ready to serve 
an Englishman, especially if I am serving the Emperor 
at the same time." 

" The inquiry will take us far afield, I expect — first 
to England." 


" To England ! " he exclaimed. " For how long do 
you anticipate ? 

" Who knows ? " I asked. " I can only say that it 
v.ill be a ven' difficult and perhaps a long inquiry." 

" And how wall the department proceed here ? " 

" Your next in command will be appointed in your 
place until your return. The Emperor arranged for 
this with me yesterday. Therefore, from to-morrow 
you will be free to place yourself at my service." 

" I quite understand," he said. " And now, perhaps, 
you will in confidence explain exactly the situation, 
a.nd the problem which is presented," and he settled 
himself in his chair in an attitude of attention. 

" Ah ! that, I regret, is unfortunately impossible. 
The Emperor has entrusted the affair to me, and to 
me alone. I must direct the inquiry, and you will, 
I fear, remain in ignorance — at least, for the present." 

" In other words, you will direct and I must act 
bhndly — eh ? " he said in a rather dubious voice. 
" That's hardly satisfactory to me, Mr. Trewinnard, is 
it ? — hardly fair, I mean." 

" I openly admit that such an attitude as I am 
compelled to adopt is not fair to you, Hartwig. But 
I feel sure you will respect the Emperor's confidence, 
and view the matter in its true hght. The matter is 
a personal one of His Majesty's, and may not be 
divulged. He has asked me to tell you this frankly 
and plainly, and also that he relies upon 3'OU to assist 

My words convinced the great detective, and h-e 
nodded at last in the affirmative. 

" The problem I alone know," I went on. *' His 
Majesty has compelled me to swear secrecy. Therefore 
I am forbidden to tell you. You understand ? " 

" But I am not forbidden to discover it for myself ? " 
repUed the keen, wary official. 


" If you do, I cannot help it," was my reply. 

"If I do," h^ said, " I promise 3-ou faithfully, Mr. 
Trewinnard, that His Majesty's secret, whatever it is, 
shall never pass my lips." 



Ten days had gone by. I had appHed to Downing 
Street for leave of absence, and was awaiting permission. 

One afternoon I had again been commanded to 
private audience at the PaJace, and in uniform, had spent 
nearly two hours ^\■ith the Emperor, listening to certain 
confidential instructions which he had given me — 
instructions for the fulfilment of a somewhat difficult 

Twice during our chat I had referred to the case 
of m.y friends Madame and Mademoiselle de Rosen, 
hoping that he wculd extend to them the Imperial 
clemency, and by a stroke of that well-worn quill upon 
the big writing table recaU them from that long and 
weary journey upon which they had been sent. 

But His Majesty, who was wearing the undress 
uniform of a general with a single cross at his throat, 
uttered an expression of regret that I had been friendly 
with them. 

" In Russia, in these days, a foreigner should exercise 
the greatest caution in choosing his friends," he said. 
" Only the day before yesterday Markoff reported it 
was to those two Vv'om.en that the attempt in the Nevski 
was entirely due. The others, thirt}- or so, were merely 
tools of those clever women." 

" Forgive me. Your Majesty, when I say that General 
Markofi lies," I repHed boldly. 


" Enough ! Our opinions differ, Trewinnard," he 
snapped, with a shrug of his broad shoulders. 

It was on the tip of my tongue to make a direct 
charge against his favourite official, but what was 
the use when I held no actual proof. Twice recently I 
had seen Natalia, but she refused to allow me sight 
of the letters, teUing me that she intended herself to 
show up the General in her own way — and at her o\^'n 

So the subject had dropped, for I saw that mention 
of it only aroused the Emperor's displeasure. And 
surely the other matter which we were discussing with 
closed doors was weighty enough. 

At last His Majesty tossed his cigarette-end away, 
and, his jewelled cross ghttering at his throat, rose 
with outstretched hand, as sign that my audience was 
at an end. 

That eternal militar}- band was playing in the grey 
courtyard below, and the Emperor had slammed-to 
the window impatiently to keep out the sound. He 
was in no mood for musical comedy that afternoon. 
Indeed, I knew that the military music often irritated 
him, but Court etiquette — those iron-bound, unwritten 
laws which even an Emperor cannot break- — demanded 
it. Those same laws decreed that no Emperor of 
Russia may travel incognito, as do all other European 
sovereigns ; that at dinner at the Winter Palace there 
must always be eight guests ; and that the service 
of gold plate of Catherine the Great must always be 
used. At the Russian Court there are a thousand 
such laws, the breach of a single one being an unpardon- 
able offence, even in the case of the autocratic ruler 

" Then you understand my wishes — eh, Trewinnard ?" 
His Majesty said at last in English, gripping my hand 


" Perfectly, Sire." 

" I need not impress upon you the need for absolute 
and entire discretion. I trust you implicitly." 

" I hope Your Majesty's trust will never be betraj'ed," 
I answered fervently, bowing over the strong out- 
stretched hand. 

And then, backing out of the door, I bowed and 

Through the long corridor with its soft red carpet 
I went, passing Cahtzine, a short, dark man in funereal 
black, the Emperor's private secretary, to whom I 
passed the time of day. 

Then, reaching the grand staircase with its wonderful 
marble and gold balustrades and great chandeliers 
of crj'stal, I descended to the huge hall, where the 
echoes were constantly aroused by hunydng footsteps 
of ministers, of&cials, chamberlains, courtiers and 
ser^^ants — all of them sycophants. 

The two gigantic sentries at the foot of the stairs 
lield their rifles at the salute as I passed between them, 
when of a sudden I caught sight of the Grand Duchess 
NataHa in a pretty summer gown of pale blue, standing 
with a tall, full-bearded elderly man in the briUiant 
uniform of the 15th Regiment of Grenadiers of Tiflis, of 
which he was chief, and wearing many decorations. It 
was her father, the Grand Duke Nicholas. 

'' Wliy, here's old Uncle Colin ! " cried m}' incorrigible 
little friend in pleased surprise. " Have j-ou been up 
with the Emperor ? " 

I rephed in the affirmative, and, bowing, greeted 
His Imperial Highness, her father, with whom I had 
long been on friendly terms. 

" WTiere are you going ? " asked the \-ivacious young 
lady quickly as she rebuttoned her long white glove, 
for they had, it seemed, been on a \4sit to the Empress. 

*' I have to go to the opening of the new wing of the 


Naval Hospital," I said. " And I haven't much time 
to spare." 

" We are going there, too. I have to perfonn the 
opening ceremony in place of the Emperor," repHed 
the Grand Duke. " So drive with us." 

" That's it, Uncle CoUn ! " exclaimed his daughter. 
" Come out for an airing. It's a beautiful afternoon," 

So we went forth into the great courtyard, where 
one of the Imperial state carriages, an open one, was 
in waiting, drawn by four fine, long-tailed Caucasian 

Behind it was a troop of mounted Cossacks to act 
as escort. 

We entered, and the instant the bare-headed flunkeys 
had closed the door the horses started off, and we 
swung out of the handsome gateway into the wide 
Place, in the centre of which stood the grey column of 
Peter the Great. 

Turning to the left we went past the Alexander 
Gardens, now parched and dusty with summer heat, 
and skirted the long facade of the War Office. 

" I wonder what tales you've been telling the Emperor 
about me, Uncle Colin ? " asked the impudent little 
lady, laughing as we drove along, I being seated opposite 
the Grand Duke and his daughter. 

" About you ? " I echoed with a smile. "Oh, 
nothing, I assure you — or, at least, nothing that was 
not nice." 

" You're a dear, I know," declared the girl, her 
father laughing amusedly the wliile. " But you are 
so dreadfully proper. You're worse about etiquette 
than father is — and he's simply horrid. He won't ever 
let me go out shopping alone, and I'm surely old enough 
to do that ! " 

" You're quite old enough to get into mischief, 
Tattie," replied her father, speaking in French. 


" I love mischief. That's the worst of it," and she 
pouted prettily. 

" Yes, quite true — the worst of it, for me," declared 
His Imperial Highness. " I thought that when you went 
to school in England they would teach you manners." 

" Ordinary manners are not Court manners," the 
girl argued, tr^dng to rebutton one of her gloves which 
had come unfastened. 

" Let me do it," I suggested, and quickly fastened it. 

" Thank you," she laughed with mock dignity. 
" How charming it is to have such a polished diplomat 
as Mr. Colin Trewinnard to do nice things for one. 
Now, isn't that a pretty speech ? I suppose I ought 
to study smart things to say, and practise them on the 
dog — as father does sometimes." 

" Really, Tattie, you forget yourself, my dear," 
exclaimed her father, with distinct disapproval. 

" Well, that's nothing," declared my charming 
little companion. " Don't parsons practise preaching 
their sermons, and lawyers and statesmen practise 
their clever untruths ? You can't expect a woman's 
mouth to be full of sugar-plums of speech, can you ? " 
• My eyes met those of the Grand Duke, and we both 
burst out laughing at the girl's quaint philosophy. 

" Why, even the Emperor has his speeches composed 
and v/ritten for him by silly old Calitzine," she went 
on. " And at Astrakhan the other day I composed a 
most telling and patriotic speech for His Maje ty, which 
he delivered when addressing the of&cers of the Army 
of the Volga. I sat on my horse and listened. The 
old generals and colonels, and all the rest of them, 
applauded vociferously, and the men threw their caps 
in the air. I wonder if they would haye done this had 
they known that I had written those v/ell-turned patri- 
otic sentences, I — a mere chit of a girl, as father 
sometimes tells me 1 " 


" And the terror of the Imperial family," I venli:red 
to add. 

"Thank you for your complimtnt, Uncle Colin," 
she laughed.' " I know father endorses your sentiments. 
I see it in his face." 

" Oh, do try and be serious, Tattie," he urged. " See 
all those people 1 Salute them, and don't laugh so 
vulgarly." And he raised his white-gloved hand to his 
shining helmet in recognition of the shouts of wekcme 
rising from those assembled along our route. 

Whereat she bowed gracefully again with that slight 
and rather frigid smile which she had been taught to 
assume on public occasions. 

" If I put up my sunshade they won't se: me, and 
it will avoid t^uch a lot of trouble," she exclaimed 
suddenly, and she put up her pretty parasol, which 
matched her govrn and softened the light upon her 
pretty face. 

"Oh, no, Uncle Colin ! " she exclaimed suddenl}', 
as we turned the ccrner into the Yosnesenskaya, a 
long, straight street where the throng, becoming greater, 
was kept back by lines of police in their gre\' coats, 
peaked caps and revolvers. " I know what you are 
thinking. But it isn't so. Tm not in the least afraid 
of spoiling my complexion." 

" Then perhaps it is a pity you are not," I replied. 
" Complexions, like all shining things, tarnish quick!}'." 

" Just like reputations, I suppose," she remarked, 
whereupon her father could not restrain another 

Then again, at word in an undertone from the Grand 
Duke, both he and his daughter saluted the crovrd, 
cur horses galloping, as they always do in Pvussia, and 
cur Cossack-escort clattering beh'nd. 

There were .a good many people just at this point, 
for it was believed that the Emperor weuld pass on 


his way to perform the opening ceremony, and his 
loyal subjects were waiting to cheer him. 

On every hand, the people, recognizing the popular 
Grand Duke and his daughter, set up hurrahs, and while 
His Imperial Highness saluted, his pretty daughter, 
the most admired girl in Russia, bowed, and I, in 
accordance with etiquette, made no sign of acknowledg- 

As we came to the narrow bridge which .spans the 
canal, the road was flanked on the left by the Alexander 
Market, and here was another huge crowd. 

Loud shouts of welcome in Russian broke forth 
from those assembled, for the Grand Duke and his 
daughter were every^where greeted most warmly. 

But as we passed the market, the police keeping 
back the crowd, I saw a thin, middle-aged man in dark 
clothes lift his hand high above his head. Something 
came in our direction, yet before I had time to realize 
his action a blood-red flash blinded me, my ears v/ere 
deafened by a terrific report, a hot, scorching breath 
swept across my face, and I felt myself hurled far into 
space amid the mass of falling debris. 

It all occurred in a single instant, and I knew no 
more. I had a distinct feeling that some terrific 
explosion had knocked the breath clean out of my 
body. I recollect seeing the carriage rent into a 
thousand fragments just at the same instant that black 
unconsciousness fell upon me. 



When, with extreme difficulty, I slowly struggled back 
to a knowledge of things about me, I found myself, 
to my great surprise, in a narrow hospital-bed, with a 


holy ikon upon the whitewashed wall before me, and 
a Red Cross sister bending tenderly over me. 

Beside her stood two Russian doctors regarding me 
very gravely, and at their side was Saunderson, our 
Councillor of Embassy. 

" Well, how are you feeling now, Colin, old man ? " 
the latter whispered cheerfully. 

" I— I don't know. Where am I ? " I a-sked. 
" What's happened ? " 

" My dear fellow, you can thank your lucky stars 
that you've escaped from the bomb," he said. 

" The bomb ! " I gasped, and then in a flash all 
the horrors of that sudden explosion crowded upon 
me. " What happened ? " I inquired, trying to raise 
myself, and finding my head entirely enveloped in 
surgical bandages. " What happened to the others ? " 

" The Grand Duke was, alas ! killed, but his daughter 
fortunately escaped only v/ith a scratch on her arm," 
was his reply. " The carriage was blown to atoms, 
the two horses and their driver and footman were 
killed, while three Cossacks of the escort were also 
killed and two injured." 

" Then — then she — she is alive ! " I managed t© 
gasp dazed at the tragic truth he had related to me. 

" Yes — it was a desperate attempt. Fifteen arrests 
have been made up to the present." 

And while he was speaking, Captain Stoyanovitch 
advanced to my bedside, and leaning over, asked in a 
low voice : 

" How are you, Trewinnard ? The Emperor has 
sent me to inquire." 

" Tell His Majesty that I — I thank him. I'm getting 
round — I — I hope Ell soon be well. I — I " 

" That's right. Take great care of yourself, mon 
cher," he urged. 

And then the doctors ordered my visitors away, and 


I sank am Dag my pillows- into a state of semi-cou- 

How long I lay thus I do not know. I remember 
seeing soldiers come and go, and at length discovered 
that I was in the hospital attached to the artillery 
barracks on the road to Warsaw Station. Beside me 
always sat a grave-eyed nursing sister, silent and 
watchful, while ever and anon one or other of the doctors 
would approach, bend over me, and inquire of her my 

Saunderson came again some hours later. It was then 
night. And from him, now that I was completely con- 
scious, I learnt how, after the explosion, the police 
had in the confusion shot down two men, afterwards 
proved to be innocent spectators, and made wholesale 
indiscriminate arrests. It was beUeved, however, that 
the man I had seen, the perpetrator of the dastardly 
act, had escaped scot-free. 

Dozens of windows in the market-hall opposite where 
the outrage was committed had been smashed, and many 
people besides the killed and injured had been thrown 
down by the terrific force of the explosion. 

" The poor Grand Duke Nicholas has, alas ! been 
shattered out of recognition," he told me. " His body 
was taken at once to his palace, where it now lies, 
while you were brought here together with the Grand 
Duchess Nataha. But her wound being quite a slight 
one, was dressed, and she was driven at once to the 
Winter Palace, at the order of the Emperor. Poor 
child ! I hear that she is utterly prostrated by the 
fearful sight which her father presented to her eyes." 

I drew a long breath. 

" I suppose I was struck on the head by soine of the 
debris and knocked insensible— eh ? " I asked. 

" Yes, probably," he replied. " But the doctors 
say the wound is only a superficial one, and in a week's 


time you'll be quite right again. So cheer up, old chap. 
You'U get the long leave which you put in for the other 
da}', and a bit more added to it, no doubt." 

" But this state of things is terrible," I declared, 
shifting myself upon my side so that I could better 
look into his face. " Surely the revolutionists could have 
had no antagonism towards the Grand Duke Nicholas ! 
He was most popular everywhere." 

" My dear fellow, who can gauge the state of the 
Russian mind at this moment ? Plots seem to be of 
daily occurrence." 

" If you beUeve the reports of the Secret Police. 
But I, for one, don't," I declared frankly. 

" No, no," he said reprovingly. " Don't excite your- 
self. Be thankful that you've escaped. You might 
have shared the same fate as those poor Cossacks." 

" I know," I said. " I thank God that I was spared. 
But it will be in the London papers, no doubt. Renter's 
man will send it ; therefore, will you wire to my mother 
at once. You know her address — Hayford Manor, near 
Newquay, Cornwall. Wire in my name, and tell her 
that the affair is greatly exaggerated, and that I'm all 
right, will you ? " 

He promised. 

I knew with what eagerness my aged mother always 
followed all my movements, for I made it a practice 
to write to her twice every week with a full report of 
my doings. I was as devoted to her as she was to me. 
And perhaps that accounted for the fact that I had never 
married. My father, the Honourable Colin Trewinnard, 
had been one of the largest landowners in Cornwall, and 
my family was probably one of the oldest in the county. 
But evil times had fallen upon the estate in the last 
years of my father's hfe ; depreciation in the value 
of agricultural land, failing crops and foreign competi- 
tion had ruined farming, and now the income was not 


one-half that it had been fifty years before. Yet it 
was sufficient to keep my mother and myself in comfort ; 
and this, in addition to my pay from the Foreign Office, 
rendered me better off than a great many other men in 
our Service. 

Through Stoyanovitch, on the following morning, I 
received a message from Natalia. He said : 

" Her Highness, whom I saw in the Palace an hour 
ago, told me to say that she sent you her best wishes 
for a speedy recovery. She is greatly grieved over the 
death of her father, and, of course, the Court has gone 
into mourning for sixty days. She told me to tell 
you that as soon as you are able to return to the Embassy 
she wishes to see you on a very important matter/' 

" Tell her that I am equally anxious to see her, and 
that she has all my sympathy in her sad bereavement," 
I rephed. 

" Terrible, wasn't it ? " the Imperial equerry ex- 
claimed. " The poor girl looks white, haggard and 
entirely changed." 

" No wonder — after such an awful experience." 

" There were, I hear, twenty more arrests to-day. 
Markoff had audience with His Majesty at ten o'clock 
this morning, and eight of the prisoners of yesterday 
have been sent to Schusselburg." 

" From which they will never emerge," I said, with a 
shudder at the thought of that hving tomb as full of 
horrors as was the Bastille itself. 

" Well, I don't see why they should, my dear friend," 
the Captain rephed. " If I had had such an experience 
as yours, I shouldn't feel very lenient towards them — 
as you apparently do." 

" I am not thinking of the culprit," I said. " He 
certainly deserves a death-sentence. It is the innocents 
who, here in Russia, suffer for the guilty, with whom 
I deeply sympathize. Every day unoffending men and 


women are arrested wholesale in this drastic, unrelent- 
ing sweeping away of prisoners to Siberia. I tell you 
that half of them are loyal, law-abiding subjects of the 

The elegant equerry-in-waiting only grinned and 
shrugged his shoulders. He was too good a Russian 
to adopt such an argument. As personal attendant 
upon His Majesty, he, of course, supported the Im- 
perial autocracy. 

" This accursed system of police-spies and agents- 
provocateurs manufactures criminals. Can a man 
wrongly arrested and sent to the mines remain a 
loyal subject ? " 

" The many have to suffer for the few. It is the same 
in all lands," was his reply. " But really the matter 
doesn't concern me, my dear Trewinnard." 

" It win concern you one day when you are blown up 
as I have been," I exclaimed savagely. 

Shortly afterwards he left, and for hours I lay think- 
ing, my eyes upon that square gilt holy picture before 
me, the ikon placed before the eyes of every patient in 
the hospital. Nurses in grey and soldiers in white 
cotton tunics passed and repassed through the small 
ward of which I was the only occupant. 

The pains in my head were excruciating. I felt 
as though my skull had been filled with boiling water. 
Sometimes my thoughts were perfectly normal, yet at 
others my mind seemed fuU of strange, almost ridiculous 
phantasies. My whole career, from the days when I 
had been a clerk in that sombre old-fashioned room at 
Downing Street, through my service at Madrid, Brussels, 
Berhn and Rome to Petersburg — aU went before me, 
like a cinema-picture. I looked upon myself as others 
saw me — as a man never sees himself in normal circum- 
stances — a mere struggling entity upon the tide of that 
sea of life caUed To-day. 


We are so very apt to think ourselves indispensable 
to the world. Yet we have only to think again, and 
remember that the unknown to-morrow may bring, us 
deatti, and with it everlasting oblivion, as far as this 
world is concerned. Queen Victoria and Pope Leo XIII. 
were the two greatest figures of our time ; yet a month 
after their deaths people had to recall who they were, 
and what they had actually done to earn distinction. 

These modem daj-s of rush and hurry are forgetful, 
irresponsible days, when public opinion is manufactured 
by those who rule the halfpenn}^ press, and when the worst 
and most baneful commodities may be foisted upon the 
public by m.eans of efficient advertisement. 

The cleverest swindler may by payment become a 
baronet of England, even a peer of the realm, providing 
he subscribes sufficient to Somebody's Newspaper 
Publicity Agency ; and any blackguard with money 
or influence may become a Justice of the Peace and 
sentence his fellov/s to fourteen days' imprisonment. 

But the reader will forgive me. Perhaps remarks 
such as these ill become a diplomat- — one who is sup- 
posed to hold no personal opinions. Yet I assert that 
to-day there is no diplomat serving Great Britain in a 
foreign country who is not tired and disgusted with his 
country's antiquated methods and her transparent 

The papers speak vigorously of Britain's power, 
but men in my service — those who know real inter- 
national truths — smxile at the defiant and well-balanced 
sentences of the m.odern journalist, whose blissful 
ignorance of the truth is ofttimes so pathetic. Yes, it 
is only the diplomat serving at a foreign Court who can 
view Great Britain from afar, and accurately gauge 
her position among modern nations. 

For ten days I remained in that whitewashed ward, 
man}^ of my friends visiting me, and Stoyanovitch coming 


daily with a pleasant message from His Majesty. Then 
one bright morning the doctors declared me to be fit 
enough to drive back to the Embassy. 

An hour later, with my head still bandaged, I was 
seated in my own room, in my own big leather armchair, 
with the July sun streaming in from across the Neva. 

Saunderson was sitting with me, describing the 
great pomp of the funeral of the Grand Duke Nicholas, 
and the service at the Isaac Church, at which the 
Tzar, the Court, and all the corps diplomatique had 

" By the way," he added, " a note came for you 
this morning," and he handed me a black-edged letter, 
bearing on the envelope the Imperial arms embossed 
in black. 

I tore it open and found it to be a neatly-written 
little letter from the Grand Duchess Natalia, asking 
me to allow her to call and see me as soon as ever 
I returned to the Embassy. 

" I must see you. Uncle Colin," she wrote. " It 
is most pressing. So do please let me come. Send 
me word, and I will come instantly. I cannot write 
anything here. / must see you at once ! " 



Two days later, the ugly bandages having been removed 
from my head, Natalia was seated in the afternoon in 
my den. 

Exquisitely neat in her dead black, with the long 
crape veil, she presented an altogether different appear- 
ance to the radiant girl who had sat before me on that 
fatal drive. Her sweet face was now pale and drawn, 



and by the dark rings about her eyes I saw how full of 
poignant grief her heart had lately been. 

She had taken off her long, black gloves and settled 
herself cosily in my big armchair, her tiny patent- 
leather shoe, encasing a shapely silk-clad ankle, set 
forth beneath the hem of her black skirt. 

" I was so terrified, Uncle Colin, that you were also 
dead ! " the girl was saying in a low, sympathetic voice, 
after I had expressed my deepest regret regarding the 
unfortunate death of her father, to whom she had been 
so devoted. 

" I suppose I had a ver}' narrow escape," I said cheer- 
fully. " You camiC out best of all." 

" By an absolute miracle. The Emperor is furious. 
Twenty of those arrested have already been sent to 
Schusselburg," she said. " Only yesterday, he told me 
that he hoped you would be well enough in a day or two 
to go to the Palace. I w^as to tell you how extremely 
anxious he is to see you as soon as possible." 

" I will obey the command at the earliest moment 
I am able," I replied. *'' But how horribly unfortunate 
all this is," I went on. " I fully expected that you 
v/ould be in England by this time." 

'* As soon as you are ready, Uncle Colin, I can go. 
The Emperor has already told me that he has placed 
me under your guardianship. That you are to be my 
equerry. Isn't it fun ? " she cried, her pretty face 
suddenly brightening with pleasure. " Fancy you ! 
dear old uncle, being put in charge of me — your naughty 
niece ! " 

*' His Majesty \\'ished it," I said. ''He thinks you 
will be better away from Court for a time. Therefore, 
I have promised to accept the responsibility. For one 
year you are to live incognito in England, and I have 
been appointed your equerry and guardian — and," I 
added very seriously, " I hope that my naughty niece 


will really behave herself, and do nothing which will 
cause me either annoyance or distress." 

" ril really try and be very good, Uncle Colin," declared 
the girl with mock demureness, and laughing mis- 
chievously. " Believe me, I will." 

" It all remains with you," I said. " Remember I 
do not wish it to be necessary that I should furnish any 
unfavourable report to the Emperor. I want us to 
understand each other perfectly from the outset. Re- 
collect one point always. Though you may be known 
in England as Miss Gottorp, yet remember that 3'ou 
are of the Imperial family of Russia, and niece of the 
Emperor. Hence, there must be no flirtations, no 
clandestine meetings or love-letters, and such-like, as 
in the case of young Hamborough." 

" Please don't bring up that affair," urged the little 
madcap. " It is all dead, buried and forgotten long ago." 

" Very well," I said, looking straight into her big, 
velvety eyes so full of expression. " But remember 
that your affection is absolutely forbidden except to- 
wards a man of your own birth and station." 

" I know," she cried, with a quick impatience. " I'm 
unlike any other girl. I am forbidden to speak to a 

" Not in England. Preserve your incognito, and 
nobody will know. At His Majesty's desire, I have 
obtained leave of absence from the service for twelve 
months, in order to become your guardian." 

" Well, dear old Uncle Colin, you are the only person 
I would have chosen. Isn't that nice of me to say so ? " 
she asked, with a tantalizing smile. 

" But I tell you I shall show you no leniency if you 
break any of the rules which must, of necessity, be laid 
down," I declared severely. " As soon as I find myself 
well enough, you will take Miss West, your old governess, 
and Davey, your English maid, to England, and I v>ill 


come and render you assistance in settling down some- 
where in comfort/' 

" At Eastbourne ? " she cried in enthusiasm. " We'll 
go there. Do let us go there ? " 

" Probably at Brighton," I said quietly. " It would 
be gayer for you, and — well, I will be quite frank — I 
think there are one or two young men whom you know 
in Eastbourne. Hence it is not quite to your adv^antage 
to return there." 

She pouted prettily in displeasure. 

'' Brighton is within an hour of London, as 3'ou know," 
I went on, extolling the praises of the place. 

" Oh, yes, I know it. We often went over from 
Eastbourne, to concerts and things. There's an 
aquarium there, and a sea-side railway, and lots of 
trippers. I remember the place perfectly. I love to 
see your English trippers. The}' are such fun, and they 
seem to enjoy themselves so much more than we ever 
do. I wonder how it is — they enjoy their freedom, I 
suppose, while we have no freedom." 

" Weil," I said cheerfully, " in a week or ten days I 
hope I shall be quite fit to travel, and then we will set 
out for England." 

" Yes. Let us go. The Emperor leaves for Peterhof 
on Saturday. He will not return to Petersburg until 
the \nnter, and the Court moves to Tzarskoie-Selo on 

" Then I will see His Majesty before Saturday," 
I said. " But, tell me, why did Your Highness write 
to me so urgently three days ago ? You said you 
wished to see me at once." 

The girl sprang from her chair, crossed to the door, 
and made certain it was closed. 

Then, glancing around as though apprehensive of 
eavesdroppers, she said : 

" I wanted to tell you. Uncle Cohn, of something 


very, very curious which happened the other evening. 
AbHDut ten o'clock at night I was with Miss West in 
the blue boudoir — you know the room in our palace, 
you've been in it." 

" I remember it perfectly," I said. 

" Well, I went upstairs to Davey for my smelling- 
salts as Miss West felt faint, and as I passed along 
the corridor I saw, in the moonlight, in my own room 
a dark xigur i moving by the window. It was a man. 
I saw him searching the drawers of my little writing- 
table, examining the contents by means of an electric- 
torch. I made no sound, but out of curiosity, drew 
back and watched him. He was reading all my letters 
— searching for something which he apparently could 
not find. My first impulse was to ring and give the 
alarm, for though I could not see the individual's face, 
I knew he must be a thief. Still, I watched, perhaps 
rather amused at the methodical examination of my 
letters which he was making, all unconscious that he was 
being observed, until suddenly at a noise made by a 
servant approaching from the other end of the corridor, 
he started, liung back the letters into the drawer, and 
mounting to the open window, got out and disappeared. 
I shouted and rushed after him to the window, but he 
had gone. He must have dropped about twelve feet 
on to the roof of the ball-room and thus got away. 

" Several servants rushed in, and the sentries were 
alarmed," she went on. " But when I told my story, 
it was apparent that I was not believed. The drawer 
in the writing-table had been reclosed, and as far as 
we could see aU was in perfect order. So I beUeve they 
all put it down to my imagination." 

" But you are quite certain that you saw the man 
there ? " I said, much interested in her story. 

" Quite. He was of middle height, dressed in dark 
clothes, and wore a cloth peaked cap, like men wear 



when golfing in England," she replied. " He was 
evidently in search of something I had in my writing- 
table, but he did not find it. Nevertheless, he read a 
quantity of my letters mostly from school-friends." 

" And your love-letters ? " I asked, with a smile. 

" Well, if the fellow read any of them," she laughed, 
** I hope he was ver^^ much edified. One point is quite 
plain. He knew English, for my letters were nearly 
all in English." 

" Some spy or other, I suppose." 

" Without a doubt," she said, clasping her white 
hands before her and raising her wonderful eyes to 
mine. " And do you know. Uncle Colin, the affair 
has since troubled me very considerably. I wanted 
to see you and hear your opinion regarding it." 

" My opinion is that your window ought not to 
have been left open." 

" It had not been. The maid whose duty it is to 
close the windows on that floor one hour before sunset 
every day has been closely questioned, and declares 
that she closed and fastened it at seven o'clock." 

" Servants are not always truthful," I remarked 

" But the intruder was there with some distinct 
purpose. Don't you think so ? " 

" Without a doubt. He was endeavouring to learn 
some secret which Your Highness possesses. Cannot 
you form any theory what it can be ? Try and reflect." 

" Secret ! " she echoed, opening her eyes wide. 
** I have no secrets. Everybody tells me I am far too 

" Here, in Russia, ever^'one seems to hold, secrets 
of some character or other, social or political, and 
spies are every\vhere," I said. " Are you quite certain 
you have never before seen the intruder ? " 

" I could only catch the silhouette of his figure 


against the moonlight, yet, to tell the truth, it struck 
me at that moment that I had seen him somewhere 
b^efore. But where, I could not recollect. He read 
each letter through, so he must have known English 
very well, or he could not have read so quickly." 

" But did you not tell me in the winter garden of the 
Palace, on the night of the last Court ball, that Marya 
de Rosen had given you certain letters — letters which 
reflected upon General Markoff ? " I asked. 

She sat erect, staring at me open-mouthed in sudden 
recollection. " Why, I never thought of that ! " she 
gasped. " Of course ! It was for those letters the 
fellow must have been searching." 

" I certainly think so — without the shadow of a doubt." 

" Madame de Rosen feared lest they should be stolen 
from her, and. she gave them oVer to me — three of them 
sealed up in an envelope," declared my dainty little 
companion. " She expressed apprehension lest a 
domiciliary visit be made to her house by the police, 
when the letters in question might be discovered and 
seized. So she asked me to hold them for her." 

" And what did you do with them ? " 

" I hid them in a place where they will never be 
found," she said ; " at a spot where nobody would even 
suspect. But somebody must be aware that she gave 
them to me for safe-keeping. How could they possibly 
know ? " 

" I think Your Highness was — well, just a little 
indiscreet on the night of the Court ball," I said. 
" Don't you recollect that you spoke aloud when 
other people were in the winter garden, and that I 
queried the judiciousness of it ? " 

" Ah ! I remember now ! " she exclaimed, her 
face suddenly pale and serious. " I recollect what I 
said. Somebody must have overheard me." 

" And that somebody told Serge Markoff himself 


— the man who was poor Madame de Rosen's enemy, 
emd who has sent both her and Luba to their graves 
far away in Eastern Siberia." i 

" Then you think that he is anxious to regain posses- 
sion of those letters ? " 

" I think that is most probable, in face of your 
statement that you intend placing them before the 
Emperor. Of course, I do not know their nature, 
but I feel that they must reflect very seriously upon 
His Maj"est3''s favourite official — the oppressor of Russia. 
You still have them in your possession ? " I asked. 

" Yes, Uncle Cohn. I feared lest some spy might 
find them, so I went up to my old nursery on the top 
floor of the Palace — a room which has not been used 
for years. In it stands my old doll's house — a big, 
dusty affair as tall as myself. I opened it and placed 
the packet in the little wardrobe in one of the doll's 
bedrooms. It is still there. I saw it only yesterday." 

" Be very careful that no spy watches you going 
to that disused room. You cannot exercise too much 
caution in this affair," I urged seriousty. 

"I am always cautious," she assured me. " I 
distrust more than one of our servants, for I beheve 
some of them to be in Markoff's pay. All that we do 
at home is carried at once to the Emperor, while I am 
watched at every turn." 

" True ; only we foreign diplomats are exempt 
from this pestilential surveillance and the clever plots 
of the horde of agents-provocateurs controlled by the aU- 
powerful Markoff." 

" But what shall I do. Uncle Colin ? " asked the girl, 
her white hands clasped in her lap. 

" If you think it wise to place the letter before the 
Emperor, I should certainly lose no time in doing so," 
I repUed. " It may soon be too late. Spies wiU leave 
no hole or corner in your father's palace unexamined." 


'■ You think there really is urgency ? " she asked. 

I looked my charming companion straight in the face 
and rephed : 

"I do. If you value your Hfe, then I would urge 
vou at once to get rid of the packet which poor Madame 
de Rosen entrusted to you." 

" But I cannot place it before the Emperor just 
at present," the girl exclaimed. " I promised secrecy 
to Marya de Rosen." 

" Then you knew something of the subject to which 
those letters refer — eh ? " 

" I know something of it." 

" Why not pass them on to me ? They will be quite 
secure here in the Embassy safe. Russian spies dire 
not enter here — upon this bit of British soil." 

" A good idea," she said quickly. " I will. I'll 
go home and bring them back to you." 

And in a few minutes she rose and with a merry 
laugh left me to descend to her carriage, which was 
waiting out upon the quay. 

I stood looking out of the window as she drove away. 
I was thinking— thinking seriously over the Emperor's 
strange apprehension. 

Two visitors followed her, the French naval attache, 
and afterwards old Madime Neilidoff, the Society leader 
of Moscow, who called to congratulate me upon my 
escape, and to invite me to spend my convalescence 
at her country estate at Sukova. With the stout, 
ugly old lady, who spoke French with a dreadfully 
nasal intonation and possessed a distinct moustache, 
I chatted for nearly an hour, as we sipped our tea with 
lemon, when almost as soon as she had taken her de- 
parture the door was flung open unceremoniously and 
the Grand Duchess Natalia burst in, her beautiful 
face blanched to the Hps. 

" Uncle Colin ! Something horrible has happened ; 


Those letters have gone ! " she gasped in a hoarse whis- 
per, staring at me. 

" Gone ! " I echoed, starting to my feet in dismay. 

" Yes. They've been stolen — stolen ! " 



In the golden September sunset, the long, wide promen- 
ade stretching beside the blue sea from Brighton towards 
the fashionable suburb of Hove was agog with \4sitors. 

A cloudless sk}^, a glassy sea flecked by the white 
sails of pleasure 3'achts, and ashore a crowd of well- 
dressed promenaders, the majority of whom were 
Londoners who, stifled in the dusty streets, were now 
seeking the fresh sea air of the Channel. 

I had dressed leisurely for dinner in the Hotel 
Metropole, where I had taiken up my abode, and about 
seven o'clock descended the steps, and, crossing the 
King's Road to the asphalted promenade, set out to 
walk westward towards Hove. 

Many things had happened since that weU-remem- 
bered afternoon in July when Xataha had discovered 
the clever theft of Madame de Rosen's letters, and I 
had, an hour later, ill though I was, sent to His Majesty 
that single word " Bathildis " and w^as granted 
immediate audience. 

WTien I told him the facts he appeared interested, 
paced the room, and then snapped his fingers with 
a careless gesture. The little madcap had certainly 
annoyed him greatly, and though feigning indifference, 
he nevertheless appeared perplexed. 

Natalia was called at once and questioned closely ; 
she was the soul of honour and would reveal nothing 
of the secret. Aftenvards I returned to the Embassy 


and summoned Hartwig, to inform him of the Grand 
Duchess's loss. The renowned pohce official had since 
made diUgent inquiry ; indeed, the whole comphcated 
machinery of the Russian criminal poUce had been 
put into motion, but all to no avail. 

The theft was still an entire myster>\ 

As I approached the Lawns at Hove, those wide, 
grassy promenades beside the sea, I saw that many 
people were still hngering, enjoying the warm sunset, 
although the fashionable hour when women exercise 
their pet dogs, and idle men lounge and watch the 
crowd, had passed and the band had finished its per- 

My mind was filled by many serious apprehensions, 
as turning suddenly from the Lawns, I recrossed the 
road and entered Brunswick Square, that wide quad- 
rangle of big, old-fashioned houses around a large 
railed-in garden filled with high oaks and beeches. 

Before a drab, newly-painted house with a basement 
and art-green blinds, I halted, ascended the steps and 

A white-whiskered old man-servant in funereal black 
bowed as I entered, and, casting off my overcoat, I 
followed the old fellow past a man who was seated 
demurel}^ in the hall, to whom I nodded, and up thickly- 
carpeted stairs to the big white-enamelled drawing- 
room, where Natalia sprang up from a couch of daffodil 
silk and came forward to meet me with glad welcome 
and outstretched hand. 

" Well, Uncle CoUn ! " she cried, " wherever have 
you been ? I called for you at the ' Metropole ' the 
day before yesterday, and your superb hall-porter told 
me that you were in London ! " 

" Yes. I had to go up there on some urgent busi- 
ness," I said. " I only returned to-day at five o'clock 
and received your kind inritation to dine/' and then. 


turning, I greeted Miss West, the rather thin, elderly 
woman who for years had acted as English governess 
to Her Imperial Highness — or Miss Gottorp, as she was 
now known at Hove. Miss \\'est had been governess 
in the Emperor's family for six years before she had 
entered the service of the Grand Duchess Nicholas, so 
life at Court, with all its stiff etiquette, had perhaps 
imparted to her a slightly unnatural hauteur. 

Natalia looked inexpressibly sweet in an evening 
gown of fine black spotted net, the transparenc}^ of which 
about the chest heightened the almost alabaster white- 
ness of her skin. She vrore a black aigrette in her hair, 
but no jewellery save a single diamond bangle upon her 
wrist, an ornament which she always wore. 

" Sit down and tell me all the news," she urged, 
throw^ing herself into an arm-chair and patting a cushion 
near by as indication where I should sit. 

" There is no news," I said. " This morning I was 
at the Embassy, and they were naturally filled with 
curiosity regarding you — a curiosity which I did not 

" Young Isvolski is there, isn't he ? " she asked. 
" He used to be attached to my pcor father's suite." 

" Yes," I replied. " He's third secretary-. He 
wanted to know whether you had poHce protection, 
and I told him the}^ had sent you another agent from 
Petersburg. I suppose it is that m.elancholy I've 
just seen sitting in the hall ? " 

" Yes. Isn't it horrid ? He sits there all day 
long and never moves," Miss West exclaimed. " It 
is as though the bailiffs are in the house." 

" Bailiffs ? " repeated the girl. " What are they ? " 

I explained to ber, whereupon she laughed heartily. 

" Hartwig is due in Brighton to-night or tc-miorrow 
morning," I said. " I have received a telegram frcm 
him, despatched frcm Berlin early }esteid2y morning. 


But," I added, " I trust that you are finding benefit 
from the change." 

" I am," she assured me. " I love this place. I 
feel so free and so happy here. Miss West and I go 
for walks and drives every day, and though a lot of 
people stare at me very hard, I don't think they know 
who I am. I hope not." 

" They admire your Highness's good looks," I ven- 
tured to remark. But she made a quick gesture of 
impatience, and declared that I only intended sarcasm. 

" I suppose Miss West, that all the men turn to 
look at Her Highness ? " I said. " Englishmen at the 
seaside during the summer are always impressionable, 
so they must be forgiven." 

" You are quite right, Mr. Trewinnard. It is really 
something dreadful. Onl}* to-da}' a 3'omig man — quite 
a respectable 3'oung fellow, who was probably a clerk 
in the City — followed us the whole length of the 
promenade to the West Pier and kept looking into her 
Highness's face." 

" He was really a very nice-looking boy," the girl 
declared mischievously. " If I'd been alone he would have 
spoken to me. And, oh, I'd have had such ripping fim." 

" No doubt you would," I said. " But you knovv^ 
the rule. You are never upon a-iiy pretext to go out 
alone. Besides, you are always under the observation 
of a police-agent. You would scarcely care to do any 
love-making before him, would you ? " 

" Why not ? Those persons are not men — ^they're 
only machines," she declared. " The Emperor told 
me that long ago." 

" Well, take my advice," I urged with a laugh, " and 
don't attempt it." 

" Oh, of course, Uncle Cohn ; you're simply dreadful. 
You're a perfect Saint Anthony. It's too joUy bad/' 
she declared. 


" Yes. Perhaps I might be a Saint Anthony where 
you are concerned. Still, you must not become a 
temptress," I laughed, when at that moment, old 
Igor, the butler, entered to announce that dinner was 

So we descended the stairs to the big dining-room, 
where the table at which she took the head was prettily 
decorated with Marshal Neil roses, and, a merry trio, 
we ate our meal amid much good-humoured banter 
and general laughter. 

As she sat beneath the pink-shaded electric lamp 
suspended over the table, I thought I had never seen 
her looking so inexpressibly charming. Little wonder, 
indeed, that 3^oung City men down for a fortnight's 
leisure at the seaside, the annual relaxation from their 
wear}' work-a-day world of office and suburban railway, 
looked upon her in admiration and followed her in order 
to feast their eyes upon her marvellous beauty. What 
would they have thought, had they but known that the 
girl so quieth^ and well dressed in black was of the 
bluest blood of Europe, a daughter of the Imperial 

That big, old-fashioned house which I had arranged 
for her six weeks ago belonged to the widow of a brewery 
baronet, a man who had made a great fortune out of 
mild dinner-ale. The somev/hat beefy lady — once a 
domestic servant — had gone on a vo^^age around the 
world and had been pleased to let it furnished for a year. 
With her consent I had had the whole place repainted 
and decorated, had caused new carpets to be provided, 
and in some instances the rooms had been reftu-nished 
in modern style, while four of the servants, including 
Igor, the butler, and Davey, Her Highness 's maid, 
had been brought from her father's palace beside the 

For a girl not yet nineteen it was, indeed, quite a 


unique establishment, Miss West acting as chaperone, 
companion and housekeeper. 

Seated at the head of the table, the little Grand 
Duchess did the honours as, indeed, she had so often 
done them at the great table in that magnificent salon 
in Petersburg, for being the only child, it had very often 
fallen to her lot to help her father to entertain, her 
mother having died a month after her birth. 

Dinner over, the ladies rose and left, while I 
sat to smoke my cigarette alone. Outside in the 
hall the undersized, insignificant Httle man in black sat 
upon a chair reading the evening paper, and as old 
Igor poured out my glass of port I asked him in French 
how he hked England. 

" Ah ! m'sieur," he exclaimed in his thin, squeaky 
voice. " Truly it is most beautiful. We are all so well 
here — so much better than in Petersburg. Years ago 
I went to London with my poor master, the Grand 
Duke. We stayed at Claridge's. M'sieur knot's the 
place — eh ? " 

" Of course," I said. " But tell me, Igor, since 
you've been in Brighton — over a month now — have 
you ever met, or seen, anybody you know ? I mean 
anyone you have seen before in Petersburg ? " 

I was anxious to learn whether young Hambo rough, 
Paul Urusoff, or any of the rest, had been in the vicinity. 

The old fellow reflected a few moments. Then he 
replied : 

" Of course I saw M'sieur Hartwig three weeks ago. 
Also His Excellency the Ambassador when he cam.e 
down from London to pay his respects to Her Imperial 

" Nobody else ? " I asked, looking seriousi}' into 
his grey old face, my wine-glass poised in my hand. \^j^ 

" Ah, yes ! One evening, three or four days afjo, 
I was walking along King's Road, towards Ship Street, 


when I passed a tall, thin, clean-shaven man in brown, 
whose face was quite familiar. I know that I've seen 
him many times in Petersburg, but I cannot recall who 
or what he is. He looked inquisitively at me for a 
moment, and apparently recognizing me, passed on 
and then hurriedly crossed the road." 

" Was he a gentleman ? " I asked with curiosity. 

" He was dressed Hke one, M'sieur. He had on a 
dark grey Homburg hat and a fashionable dark brown 

" You only saw him on that one occasion ? " 

" Only that once. When I returned home I told 
Dmitri, the pohce-agent, and described him. You 
don't anticipate that he is here with any evil purpose, 
I suppose ? " he added quickly. 

" I can't tell, Igor. I don't know him. But if 
I were you I would not mention it to her Highness. 
She's only a girl, remember, and her nerves have been 
greatly shaken by that terrible tragedy." 

" Rely upon me. I shall saj^ no word, M'sieur," 
he promised. 

Then I rose and ascended to the drawing-room, 
where Natalia was seated alone. 

" IMiss West will be here in a few minutes," she 
said. " TeU me. Uncle CoHn, what have 3'ou been doing 
while you've been away — eh ? " 

" I had some business in London, and after^vards 
went on a flying visit to see my mother down in Corn- 
wall," I said. 

" Ah ! How is she ? I hope you told her to come 
and see me. I would be so very deUghted if she will 
come and stay a week or so." 

" I gave her Your Highness 's kind message, and 
she is writing to thank you. She'll be most delighted 
to x-isit you," I said. 

" Nothing has been discovered regarding Madame 


de Rosen's letters, I suppose ? " she asked witii a sigh, 

her face suddenly grown grave. 

" Hartwig arrives to-night, or to-morrow," I replied. 

" We shall then know what has transpired. From his 

Majesty he received exphcit instructions to spare no 

effort to solve the myster>^ of the theft." 

" I know. He told me so when he was here three 

weeks ago. He has made every effort. Of all the police 

administration I consider Hartwig the most honest and 


" Yes," I agreed. " He is "alert alv/ays, marvellously 

astute, and, above all, though he has had such an 

extraordinary career, he is an Englishman." 

"So I have lately heard," replied my pretty com- 
panion. " I know he wall do his best on my behalf, 
because I feel that I have lost the one piece of evidence 
which might have restored poor Mar3^a de Rosen and 
her daughter to Hberty." 

" You have lost the letters, it is true," I said, looking, 
into her splendid eyes. " You have lost them because 
it was plainly in the interests of General Markoff, the 
Tzar's favourite, that they should be lost. Madame 
de Rosen herself feared lest they should be stolen, and 
yet a few days later she and Luba were spirited away 
to the Unknown. Search was, no doubt, made at her 
house for that incriminating correspondence. It could 
not be found ; but, alas ! you let out the secret when 
sitting out with me at the Court ball. Somebody 
must have overheard. Your father's palace was 
searched very thoroughly, and the packet at last found " 
" The Emperor appeared to be most concerned 
about it before I left Russia. Wlien I last saw him at 
Tzarskoie-Selo he seemed very pale, agitated and 

" Yes," I said. Then, ver}^ slowly, for I confess 
I was much perturbed, knowing how we were at that 


moment hemmed in by our enemies, I added : " This 
theft conveyed more to His Majesty than at present 
appears to your Highness. It is a starthng coup of 
those opposed to the monarchy — the confirmation of a 
suspicion which the Emperor beUeved to be his — and 
his alone." 

■" A suspicion ! " she exclaimed. " What suspicion ? 
Tell me." 

Next^ moment Miss West, thin-faced and rather 
angular, entered the room, and we dropped our con- 
fidences. Then, at my invitation, my dainty little 
hostess went to the piano, and running her white 
fingers over the keys, commenced to sing in her clear, 
well-trained contralto " L'Heure Exquise " of Paul 
Verlaine : 

La lune blanche 

Luit dans les bois ; 
De chaque branche 

Part une voix 
Sous la ramee .... 
O bien-aimee. 



When I entered my bedroom at the Hotel Metrcpole 
it wanted half an hour to midnight. But scarce had 
I closed the door when a waiter tapped at it and handed 
me a card. 

" Show the gentleman up," I said in eager anticipa- 
tion, and a few minutes later there entered a tall, thin, 
clean-shaven, rather aristocratic-looking man in a dark 
brown suit — the same person whom old Igor had 
evidently recognized wadking along King's Road. 

" Well, Tack ? So you are here with your report 
— eh ? " I asked. 


" Yes, sir," was his reply, as I seated myself on the 
edge of the bed, and he took a chair near the dressing- 
table and settled himself to talk. 

Edward Tack was a man of many adventures. After 
a good many years at Scotland Yard, where he rose 
to be the chief of the Extradition Department on 
account of his knowledge of languages, he. had beea 
engaged by the Foreign Office as a member of our 
Secret Service abroad, mostly in Germany and Russia. 
During the past two years he had, as a bhnd to the 
pohce, carried on a small insurance agency business in 
Petersburg ; but the information he gathered from time 
to tim.e and sent to the Embassy was of the greatest 
assistance to us in our diplomatic dealings with Russia 
and the Powers. 

He never came to the Embassy himself, nor did he 
ever hold any direct communication with any of the 
staff. He acted as our eyes and ears, exercising the 
utmost caution in transmitting to us the knowledge 
of men and matters which he so cleverly gained. He 
worked with the greatest secrecy, for though he had lived 
in Petersburg two whole years, he had never once been 
suspected by that unscrupulous spy-department con- 
trolled by General Markoff. 

" I've been in Brighton several days," my visitor 
said. " The hotel porter told me here that you were away, 
so I went to the * Old Ship ! ' and waited for you." 

" Well — what have you discovered ? " I inquired, 
handing him my cigarette-case. " Anything of 
interest ? " 

" Nothing very much, I regret to say," was his reply. 
** I've worked for a whole month, often night and day, 
but Markoff 's men are war}' — very wary birds, sir, as 
you know." 

*' Have you discovered the real perpetrator of that 
bomb outrage ? " 


" I believe so. He escaped." 

" No doubt he did." 

" There have been in all over forty persons arrested," 
my visitor said. " About two dozen have been im- 
mured in Schusselburg, in those cells under the waters 
of Lake Ladoga. The rest have been sent by ad- 
ministrative process to the mines." 

" And all of them innocent ? " 

" Even.' one of them." 

" It's outrageous ! " I cried. " To tliink that such 
things can happen ever\' day in a countr\^ whose priests 
teach Christianity." 

" Remove a certain dozen or so of Russia's statesmen 
and corrupt officipJs, put a stop to the exile system, 
and give ever\^ criminal or suspect a fair trial, and the 
country would become peaceful to-morrow," declared 
the secret agent. " I have already reported to the 
Embassy the actual truth concerning the present 
mi rest." 

" I know. And we have sent it on to Do\Miing Street, 
together wdth the names of those who form the camariUa. 
The Emperor is, alas I merely their catspaw. They 
are the real rulers of Russia — they rule it by a Reign 
•f Terror." 

" Exacth", sir," replied the man Tack. " I've 
always contended that. In the present case the outrage 
is not a mystery to the Secret Pohce." 

" You think they know aU about it- — eh ? " I asked 

" WeU, sir. I will put to you certain facts which 
I have discovered. About tw^o years ago a certain 
Danilo Danilovitch, an intelligent shoemaker in Kazan, 
and a member of the revolutionary" group in that city, 
turned pohce-spy, and gave eiidence of a cmip vrhich had 
been prepared to poison the Emperor at a banquet 
given there after the militaiy manc&u^Tes last year. 


As a result, there were over a hundred arrests, and as 
reprisal the chief of police of Kazan was a week later 
shot while riding through one of the principal streets. 
Next I know of Banilo\'itch is that he was transferred 
to Petersburg, where, though in the pay of the police, 
he was known to the Party of the People's Will as an 
ardent and daring reformer, and foremost in his fiery 
condcm.naticn cf the monarch}'. He m.ade many 
inflammatory speeches at the secret revolutionary- 
meetings in various parts of the city, and hailed 
as a strong and intrepid leader. Yet frequently the 
police made raids upcn these mxeetirg-places and arrested 
all found there. After each attempted outrage they 
seemed to be provided with lists of everyone who had 
had the shghtest connecticn \vith the affair, and hence 
they experienced no difficulty in securing them, and 
packing them cff to Siberia. The police were all- 
ubiquitous, the Emperor was greatly pleased, and 
General Markcff was given the highest decorations, 
prcm.oticn and an cppcintmicnt with rich emoluments, 
" But cne day, abcut four months ago," Tack went 
on, "a remiarkable but unreported tragedy occurred. 
D anilovitch, w^hose wife had long ago been arrested and 
died on her way to Siberia, fell in love with a pretty 
young tailcress named Marie Garine, who was a very 
active m.tmber of the revoJuticnary party, her father 
and mother having been sent to the mines of Nerchinsk, 
though entirely innocent. Hence she naturally hated 
the Secret Police and all their detestable wcrks.v More 
than cnce she had rem.arked to her lover the extra- 
ordinary fact that the police were being secretly fore- 
warned of every attempt v\hich he suggested, for 
Danikvitch had by this t:m,e beccm.e cne cf the chief 
leaders cf the subterranean revoluticn, and instigator 
of all sorts of desperate plots against the Emperor and 
mem.bers of the Im;periai F&mjjy. One evening, however. 


she went to his rooms and found him out. Some 
old shoes were upon a shelf ready for mending, for he 
still, as a subterfuge, practised his old trade. Among 
the shoes was a pair of her own. She took them down, 
but she mistook another pair for hers, and from^ one 
of them there fell to her feet a yellow card — the card 
of identity issued to members of the Secret Police ! She 
took it up. There was no mistake, for her lover's photo- 
graph was pasted upon it. Her lover was a police spy ! " 

*' Weil, what happened ? " I asked, much interested 
in the facts. 

" The girl, in a frenzy of madness and anger, was 
about to rush out to betray the man to her fellow- 
consphators, when Danilovitch suddenly entered. She 
had, at that moment, his \^ellow card in her hand. In 
an instant he knew the truth and realized his own peril. 
She intended to betray him. It meant her life or his ! 
Kot a dozen words passed between the pair, for the 
man, taking up his shoemaker's knife, plunged it 
deliberatety into the girl's heart, snatched the card 
from her dying grasp, and strode out, locking the door 
behind him. Then he went straight to the private 
bureau of General Markoff and told him what he had 
done. Needless to relate, the police inquiry was a very 
perfunctory one. It was a love tragedy, they said, 
and as Danilo Danilovitch was missing, they soon 
dropped the inquiry. They did not, of course, wish 
to arrest the assassin, for he was far too useful a person 
to them." 

" Then you know the fellow ? " 

"I have met him often. At first I had no idea of 
his connection with the revolutionists. It is only quite 
recently through a woman who is in the pay of the Secret 
Police, and whose son has been treated badly, that I 
learned the truth. And she also told me one very 
curious fact. She was present in the crowd when 


the bomb was thrown at the Grand Duke Nicholas's 
carriage, and she declares that Danilo Danilovitch — who 
has not been seen in Petersburg since the tragic death 
of Marie Garine — was there also." 

"Then he may have thrown the bomb?'' I said, 

" Who knows ? " 

" But I saw a man with his arm uplifted," I ex- 
claimed. " He looked respectable, of middle-age, with 
a grey beard and wore dark clothes." 

" That does not tally with Danilovitch' s description," 
he replied. " But, of course, the assassin must have 
been disguised if he had dared to return to Petersburg." 

" But I suppose his fellow-conspirators still entertain 
no suspicion that he is a police-spy ? " 

" None whatever. The poor girl lost her life through 
her untoward discovery. The police themselves knew 
the truth, but on action being withdrawn, the fellow was 
perfectly free to continue his nefarious profession of 
agent-provocateur , for the great risk of which he had 
evidently been well paid." 

" But does not Hart wig know all this ? " I asked 
quickly, much surprised. 

" Probably not. General Markoff keeps his own 
secrets well. Martwig, being head of the criminal 
police, would not be informed." 

" But he might find out, just as you have found out," 
I suggested. 

" He might. But my success, sir, w^as due to the 
merest chance, remember," Tack said. " Hartwig's 
work lies in the detection of crime, and not in the 
frustration of political plots. Markofl knows what an 
astute of!i(;^al he is, and would therefore strive to keep 
him apart from his catspaw Danilovitch." 

" Then, in your opinion, many of these so-called 
plots against the Emperor are actually the work of th\s 


Kazan shoemaker, who arranges the plot, calls the 
conspirators together and directs the arrangements." 

" Yes. His brother is a chemist in Moscow and it 
is he who manufactures picric acid, nitro-glycerine 
and other explosives for the use of the unfortunate 
conspirators. Between them, and advised by Markoff, 
they form a plot, the more desperate the better ; and 
a dozen or so silly enthusiasts, ignorant of their leaders' 
true calling, swear solemnly to carry it out. They are 
secretly provided with the means, and their leader has 
in some cases actually secured facilities from the very 
police themselves for the coup to be made. Then, when 
all is quite ready, the astute Danilovitch hands over 
to his employer, Markoff, a full list of the names of those 
who have been cleverly enticed into the plot. At 
night a sudden raid is made. All who are there, or who 
are even in the vicinity are arrested, and next morning 
His Excellency presents his report to the Emperor, 
with Danilovitch' s list ready for the Imperial signature 
which consigns those arrested to a living grave on the 
Arctic wastes, or in the mines of Eastern Siberia." 

" And so progresses holy Russia of to-day — eh. 
Tack ? " I remarked with a sigh. 

The secret agent of British diplomacy, shrugging 
his shoulders and with a grin, said : 

" The scoundrels are terrorizing the Emperor and 
the whole Imperial family. The killing of the Grand 
Duke Nicholas was evidence of that, and you, too, sir, 
had a very narrow escape." 

" Do you suspect that, if the story of the woman 
who recognized Danilovitch be true, it was actually 
he himself who threw the bomb ? " 

" At present I can offer no opinion," he answered. 
*' The woman might, of course, have been mistaken, 
and. again, I doubt whether Danilovitch would dare 
to show himself so quickly in Petersburg. To do so 


would be to defy the police in the eyes of his fellow- 
conspirators, and that might have aroused their 
suspicion. But, sir," Tack added, " I feel certain of 
two facts — absolutely certain." 

" And what are they ? " I inquired eagerly, for his 
information was always reliable. 

" Well, the first is that the outrage was committed 
with the full connivance and knowledge of the police, 
and secondly, that it was not the Grand Duke whom 
they sought to kill, but his daughter, the Grand Duchess 
Natalia, and you yourself ! " 

" Why do you think that ? " I asked. 

" Because it was known that the 3'oung lady held 
letters given her by Madame de Rosen, and intended 
to hand them over to the Emperor. There was but one 
way to prevent her," he went on very slowly, " to kill 
her ! And," he added, " be very careful yourself in the 
near future, Mr. Trewinnard. Another attempt of an 
entirely different nature m^ay be made." 

" You mean that Her Highness is still in grave danger 
— even here — eh ? " I exclaimed, looking straight at 
the clean-shaven man seated before me. 

" I mean, sir, that Her Highness may be aware of 
the contents of those letters handed to her by the lady 
who is now exiled. K so, then she is a source of constant 
danger to General Markoff's interests. And you are 
fully well av/are of the manner in which His Excellency 
usually treats his enemies. Only by a miracle was your 
life saved a few weeks ago. Therefore," he added, " I 
beg of you, sir, to beware. There may be pitfalls and 
dangers — even here, in Brighton ! " ^ 

" Do you only suspect scmething, Tack," I demanded 
very seriously, " or do ycu actually know ? " , l^,,, 

He paused for a few seconds, then, his deep-set^eyes 
fixed upon mine, he replied. 

" I do not suspect, sir, I know." 




What Tack had told me naturally increased my appre- 
hension. I informed the two agents of Russian police 
who in turn guarded the house in Brunswick Square. 

A whole month went by, bright, delightful autumn 
days beside the sea, when I often strolled with my 
charming little companion across the Lawns at Hove, 
or sat upon the pier at Brighton listening to the band. 

Sometimes I would dine with her and Miss West, 
or at others they would take tea with me in that over- 
heated winter garden of the " Metropole " — where 
half of the Hebrew portion of the City of London 
assembles on Sunda\^ afternoons — or they would dine 
with me in the big restaurant. So frequently was she 
in and out of the hotel that " Miss Gottorp " soon be- 
came known to all the servants, and by sight to most 
of the visitors on account of the neatness of her mourn- 
ing and the attractiveness of her pale beauty. 

Tack had returned to Petersburg to resume his agency 
business, and Hartwig's whereabouts was unknown. 

The last-named had been in Brighton three weeks 
before, but as he had nothing to report he had dis- 
appeared as suddenly as he had come. He was ubiqui- 
tous — a man of a hundred disguises, and as many subter- 
fuges. He never seemed to sleep, and his journeys 
backwards and forwards across the face of Europe were 
amazingly swift and ever-constant. 

I was seated at tea with Her Highness and Miss 
West in the winter garden — that place of palms and 
bird-cages at the back of the " Metropole " — when a 
waiter handed me a telegram which I found was from 


the secretary of the Russian Embassy, at Chesham 
House, in London, asking me to call there at the earliest 
possible moment. 

What, I wondered, had occurred ? 

I said nothing to Natalia, but, recollecting that 
there was an express just after six o'clock which would 
land me at Victoria at half-past seven, I cut short her 
visit and duly arrived in London, unaware of the 
reason why I was so suddenly summoned. 

I crossed the big, walled-in courtyard of the Embassy, 
and entering the great sombre hall, where an agent of 
Secret Police was idling as usual, the flunkey in green 
livery showed me along to the secretary's room, a big, 
gloomy, smoke-blackened apartment on the ground 
floor. The huge house Vv'as dark, sombre and ponderous, 
a house of grim, mysterious shadows, where officials 
and servants flitted up and down the great, v/ide stair- 
case which led to His Excellency's room. 

" His Excellency left for Paris to day," the footman 
informed me, opening the door of the secretary's room, 
and telhng me that he would send word at once of my 

It was the usual cold and austere embassy room 
— differing but little from my own den in Petersburg. 
Count Kourloff, the secretary, was an old friend of 
mine. He had been secretary in Rome when I had been 
stationed there, and I had also known him in Vienna — 
a clever and intelligent diplomat, but a bureaucrat like 
aU Russians. 

The evening was a warm, oppressive one, and the 
windows being open, admitted the lively strains of a 
street piano, played somewhere in the vicinity. 

Suddenly the door opened, and instead of the Count, 
whom I had expected, a stout, broad-shouldered, 
elderly man in black frock-coat and grey trousers 
entered, and saluted me gaily in French with the words : 



" Ah, my dear Trewinnard ! How are you, my 
friend — eh ? How are you ? And how is Her Imperial 

Highness — eh ? " 

I started as I recognized him. 

It was none other than Serge Markoff. 

" I am very well, General," I repUed coldly. " I am 
awaiting Count Kourloff." 

" He's out. It was I who telegraphed to you. I 
want to have a chat with you now that you have entered 
the service of Russia, my dear friend. Pray be seated." 

" Pardon me," I replied, annoyed, " I have not 
entered the service of Russia, only the private service 
of her Sovereign, the Emperor." 

" The same thing ! The same thing ! " he declared 
fussily, stroking his long, grey moustache, and fixing 
his cunning steel blue eyes upon mine. 

"I think not," I said. "But we need not discuss 
that point." 

" Bien ! I suppose. Her Highness is perfectly com- 
fortable and happy in her incognito at Brighton — eh ? 
The Emperor was speaking 6f her to me only the other 

" His Majesty receives my report each week," I said 

" I know," replied, the brutal remorseless man who 
was responsible for the great injustice and suffering of 
thousands of innocent ones throughout the Russian 
Empire, '^l know. But I have asked you to London 
because I wish to speak to you in strictest confidence. 
I am here, M'sieur Trewinnard, because of a certain 
discovery we have recently made — the discovery of a 
ver}^ desperate and ingenious plot I " 

" Another plot I " I echoed ; " here, in London ! " 

" It is formed in London, but the coup is to be made 
at Brighton," he replied slowly and seriously, " a plot 
against Her Imperial Highness ! " 


I looked the man straight in the face, and then burst 
out laughing. 

" You certainly do not appear to have any regard 
for the personal safety of your charge," he exclaimed 
angrily. " I have warned you. Therefore, take every 

I paused for a few seconds, then I said : 

" Forgive me for laughing, General Markoff. But 
it is really too humorous — all this transparency." 

" What transparency ? " 

"The transparency of your attempt to terrify me," 
I said. " I know that the attempt rr.ade against the 
young lady and myself failed — and that His Imperial 
Highness the Grand Duke was unfortunately killed. 
But I do not think there will be any second attempt." 

" You don't think so ! " he cried quickly. " Why 
don't you think so ? " 

" For the simple reason that Danilo Danilovitch — 
the man who is a police-spy and at the same time re- 
sponsible for plots — is just now a little too well 

The man's grey face dropped when I uttered the name 
of his catspaw. My statement, I sav/, held him con- 
founded and confused. 

" I — I do not understand you," he managed, to 
exclaim. " What do you mean ? " 

" Well, you surely know Danilovitch ? " I said, " He 
is your most trusted and useful iigent-provocatettr . He 
is at this moment in England. I can take you now to 
v/here he is in hiding, if you wish," I added, with a 
smile of triumph. 

" Danilovitch," he repeated, as though trying to recall 
the name. 

" Yes," I said defiantly, standing with my hands 
in my trousers pockets and leaning against the table 
placed in the centre of the room. " Danilovitch — the 


shoemaker of Kazan and murderer of Marie Garine, the 
poor Httle tailoress in Petersburg." 

His face dropped. He saw that I was aware of 
the man's identity. 

"He is now staying with a compatriot in Blurton 
Road, Lower Clapton," I went on. 

" I don't see why this person should interest me," he 

" But he is a conspirator, General Markoff ; and I 
am giving you some valuable information," I said, 
with sarcasm. 

" You are not a police officer. What can 3^ou know ? " 

" I know several facts which, when placed before the 
Revolutionary Committee — as they probably are by this 
time — will make matters exceedingly unpleasant for 
Danilo Danilovitch, and also for certain of those who have 
been employing him," was my quiet response. 

" If this man is a dangerous revolutionist, as you 
allege, he cannot be arrested while in England," remarked 
the General, his thick grey eyebrows contracting slightty, 
a sign of apprehension. "This country of yours gives 
asylum to all the most desperate characters, and half 
the revolutionary plots in Europe are arranged in 

" I do not dispute that," I said. " But I was discussing 
the highly interesting career of this Danilo Danilo\itch. 
If there is any attempt upon Her Imperial Highness 
the Grand Duchess Natalia, as you fear, it will be by 
that individual, General. Therefore I would advise 
your department to keep close observation upon him. 
He is lodging at No. 30B, Blurton Road. And," I 
added, " if you should require any further particulars 
concerning him, I daresay I shall be in a position to 
furnish them." 

" Why do you suspect him ? " . 

" Because of information which has reached me — 


information which shows that it was his hand which 
launched the fatal bomb which killed the Grand Duke 
Nicholas. His Imperial Highness was actually killed 
by an agent of Secret Police ! When that fact reaches 
the Emperor's ears there wiW, I expect, be searching 

" Have you actual proof of this ? "he asked in a thick, 
hoarse voice, his cheeks paler than before. 

" Yes. Or at least my informant has. The traitor 
was recognized among the crowd ; he was seen to 
throw the bomb." 

General Markoff remained silent. He saw himself 
checkmated. His secret was out. He had intended 
to raise a false scare of a probable attempt at Brighton 
in order to terrify me, but, to his amazement, I had 
shown myself conversant with his methods and aware 
of the truth concerning the mysterious outrage in which 
the Grand Duke Nicholas had lost his life. 

From his demeanour and the keen cunning look in 
his steely eyes I gathered that he was all eagerness to 
know the exact extent of my knowledge concerning 
Danilo Danilovitch. 

Therefore, after some further conversation, I said 
boldly : 

*' I expect that, ere this, the Central Committee of 
the People's Will has learned the truth regarding their 
betrayer — this man to whose initiative more than half 
of the recent plots have been due — and how he was in 
the habit of furnishing your department with the lists 
of suspects and those chosen to carry out the outrage. 
But, of course. General," I added, with a bitter smile, 
" you would probably not know of this manufacture 
of plots by one in the pay of the PoUce Depart- 

" Of course not," the unscrupulous official assured 
me. " I surely cannot be held responsible for the 


action of underlings. I only act upon reports presented 
to me." 

I smiled again. 

" And yet you warn me of an outrage which is to be 
attempted with your connivance by this fellow Danilo- 
vitch — the verv man who killed the Grand Duke — 
eh ? " 

" With my connivance ! " he cried fiercel}'. " Wliat 
do you insinuate ? " 

" I mean this, General Markcf?," I said boldly ; 
" that the yellow card of identity found in Danilo\'itch's 
rocms by the girl to whcm he was engaged bore your 
signature. That card is, I believe, already in the hands 
of the Revolutionary Committee ! " 

" I have ail their names. I shall telegraph to-night 
ordering their immediate arrest," he cried, white with 

" But that will net save your agent-provocateur — 
the assassin of poor Marie Garine — from his fate. The 
arm of the revolutionist is a very long one, remember." 

" But the arm of the Chief of Secret Police is longer 
— and stronger," he declared in a low, hard tone. 

" The Em.peror, when he learns the truth, wdll dis- 
pense full justice," I said very quietl}'. " His eyes will, 
ere long, be opened to the base frauds practised upon 
him, and the many false plots which have cost hundreds 
of innocent persons their hves or their liberty." 

" You speak as though you were censor of the police/' 
he exclaimed with a quick, angiy look. 

" I speak. General Markoff, as the friend of Russia 
and of her Sovereign the Em^peror," I replied. " You 
wain me of a plot to assassinate the Grand Duchess 
Natalia. Well, I tell 3^ou frankly and openly I don't 
believe it. But if it be true, then I, in return, warn 
you that if any Edtem^pt be made by any of your das- 
tardly hirehngs, I \\\\\ mA'self go to the Emperor and 


place before him proofs of the interesting career of 
Danilo Danilovitch. Your Excellency may be all- 
powerful as Chief of Secret Police," I added ; " but as 
surely as the sun wdll rise to-morrow, justice will one 
day be done in Russia ! " 

And then I turned upon m}^ heel and passed out of 
the room, leaving him biting his nether lip in silence 
at my open defiance. 



After Her Highness and Miss Wfest had dined with me 
at the '* Metropole " at Brighton on the following 
evening, the trusted old companion complained of head- 
ache and drove home, leaving us alone together. 

Therefore we strolled forth into the moonlit night 
and, crossing the road, walked out along the pier. 
There were many persons in the hall of the hotel, but 
though a good many heads were turned to see " Miss 
Gottorp " pass in her pretty decollete gown of black, 
trimmed with narrow silver, over which was a black 
satin evening cloak, probably not one noticed the 
under-sized, insignificant, but rather well-dressed man 
who rose from one of the easy chairs where he had 
been smoking to follow us out. 

Who, indeed, of that crowd would have guessed that 
the pretty girl b}^ whose side I walked was an Imperial 
Princess, or that the man who went out so aimlessly 
was Gleg Lobko, the trusty agent of the Russian 
Criminal Police charged b}* the Emperor with her 
personal protection ? 

With the man following at a respectable distance, 
we strolled side b}' side upon the pier, looking back 
upon the fair}'-like scene, the long lines of light along 


King's Road, and the calm sea shimmering beneath 
the clear moon. There were many people enjoying 
the cool, refreshing breezes, as there always are upon an 
autumn night. 

A comedy was in progress in the theatre at the pier- 
head, and it being the entr'acte, many were promenading 
— mostly \dsitors taking their late vacation by the sea. 

My charming little companion had been bright and 
cheerful all the evening, but had more than once, by 
clever questions, endeavoured to learn what had taken 
me to the Embassy on the previous night. I, however, 
did not deem it exactly advisable to alarm her unduly, 
either by telling her of my defiance of General Markoff, 
of my discover}^ of Danilo Danilovitch, or of the 
attempt to terrify me by the declaration that another 
plot was in progress. 

Truth to tell. Tack, before his return to Petersburg, 
had run Danilovitch to earth in Lower Clapton, and 
two private detectives, engaged by me, were keeping 
the closest surveillance upon him. 

Twice had we circled the theatre at the pier-head, 
and had twice strolled amid the seated audience around 
the bandstand where military music was being pla3^ed 
in the moonlight, when we passed two young men in 
Homburg hats, wearing overcoats over their evening 
clothes. One of them, a tall, slim, dark-haired, good- 
looking, athletic young fellow, of perhaps twenty-two, 
raised his hat and smiled at my companion. 

She nodded him a merry acknowledgment. Then, 
as we passed on, I exclaimed quickly : 

" Hullo a ! Is that some new friend — eh ? " 

" Oh, it's really all right. Uncle Colin," she assured 
me. " I've done nothing dreadful, now. You needn't 
start lecturing me, you know, or be horrified at all." 

" I'm not lecturing," I laughed. "I'm only con- 
sumed by curiosity. That's aU." 


*' Ah ! You're like all men," she declared. "And 
suppose I refuse to satisfy your curiosity — eh ? " 

" You won't do that, I think," was my reply, as we 
halted upon one of the long benches which ran on either 
side of the pier. " Remember, I am responsible to the 
Emperor for you, and I'm entitled to know who your 
friend is." 

" He's an awfully nice boy," \vas all she replied. 

" He looks so. But who is he ? " 

" Somebody — well, somebody I knew at Eastbourne." 

" And you've met him here ? How long ago ? " 

" Oh ! nearly a month." 

" And so it is he whom you've met several times 
of late — eh ? " I said. " Let's see — according to the 
report furnished to me, you were out for half an hour 
on the sea-front on Tuesday night ; five minutes on 
Wednesday night ; not at all on Thursday night, and 
one whole hour on Friday night — eh ? And with a 
young man whose name is unknown." 

" Oh; I'll tell you his name. He's Dick Drur}^" 

" And who, pray, is this Mr. Richard Drury ? " 

"A friend of mine, I tell you. The man with him 
is his friend-r— Lance Ingram, a doctor." 

" And what is this Mr. Drury's profession ? " 

" He does nothing, I suppose," she laughed. " I 
can't weU imagine Dick doing much." 

" Except flirting — eh ? " I said with a smile. 

" That's a matter of opinion," she replied, as we 
again rose and circled the bandstand, for I was anxious 
to get another look at the pair. 

On the evenings I had referred to, it appeared that 
Her Highness, after dinner, had twisted a shawl over 
her head, and ran down" to the sea-front — a distance 
of a hundred yards or so — to get a breath of air, as 
she had explained to Miss West. But on each occa- 
sion the watchful poUce-agent had seen her meet by 



appointment tliis same 3'oung man. Therefore some 
flirtation was certainly in progress — and flirtation had 
been most distinctly forbidden. 

r>Iy efforts were rewarded, for a few minutes later 
the two young men re-passed us, and this time young 
Drur\^ did not raise his hat. He only smiled at her in 

" XVhere are they sta3'ing ? " I asked. 

" Oh you are so horribly inquisitive, Uncle Colin," 
she said. " Well, if you really must know, they're 
stajdng at the ' Royal York.' " 

" How came you to know this young fellow at East- 
bourne ? " I asked. " I thought you were kept in 
strictest seclusion from the outside world. At least, 
you've always led me to beheve that," I said. 

She laughed heartily. 

" Well, dear old uncle, surely you don't think that 
any school could exactly keep a girl a prisoner. We 
used to get out sometimes alone for an hour of an 
evening — by judicious briber}^ I've had many a 
pleasant hour's walk up the road towards Beachy 
Head. And, moreover, I wasn't- alone, either. Dick 
was usually with me." 

" Really, this is too dreadful ! " I exclaimed in pious 
horror. " Suppose anyone had kno\\Ti who you really 
were ! " 

" WeU, I suppose even if they had the heavens 
wouldn't have fallen," she laughed. 

" Ah ! " I said, " you are reaU}^ incorrigible. Here 
you are flirting with an unsuspected lover." 

" And why shouldn't I ? " she asked in protest. 
" Dick is better than some chance acquaintance." 

" If you are only amusing yourself," I said. " But 
if you love him, then it would be a serious matter." 

" Oh, horribly serious, I know," she said impatiently. 
" If I were a typist, or a shopgirl, or a waitress, or any 


girl who worked for her Uving, I should be doing quite 
the correct thing ; but for me — bom of the great. 
Imperial Family — to merely look at a boy is quite 

I was silent for a few moments. The Uttle madcap 
whom the Emperor had placed in my charge, because 
her presence at Court was a menace to the Imperial 
family, was surely unconventional and utterly 

" I fear Your Highness does not fully appreciate the 
heavy responsibilities of Imperial birth," I said in a 
tone of dissatisfaction. 

" Oh, bother ! My birth be hanged ! " she exclaimed, 
with more force than politeness. " In these days it 
really counts for nothing. I was reading it all in_ a 
Gerrnan book last week. Ever}' class seems to have its 
owTL social laws, and what is forbidden to me is quite 
good form with my dressmaker. Isn't it absurdly 
funny ? " 

" You must study your position." 

"Why should I,"^if I strictly preserve my incognito? 
That I do this, even you, Uncle Colin, will admit ! " 

" Are you quite certain that this Mr. Drury is unaware 
who 3'Ou reaUy are ? " I asked. 

" Quite. He believes me to be Miss Natalia Gottorp, 
my father German, my mother English, and I was bom 
in Germany. That is the stor}' — does it suit ? " 

" I trust you will tal^e great care not to reveal your 
tme identity," I said. 

" I have promised you, haven't I ? " 

" You promised me that you would not flirt, and yet 
here you are, having clandestine meetings with this 
young man every evening I " 

"Oh, that's ver>' different. I can't help it if I meet 
an old friend accidentally, can I ? " she protested with 
a pretty pout. 



At that moment we were strolling along the western 
side of the pier-head, where it was comparatively ill- 
lit, on one side being the theatre, w^hile on the other 
the sea. The photographer's and other shops were 
closed at that late hour, and the light being dim at 
that spot, several flirting couples were passing up and 
down arm in arm. 

Suddenly, as we turned the comer behind the theatre, 
we came face to face with a dark-featured, middle-aged 
man, with deeply-furrowed brow, narrowly set e3^es and 
small black moustache. He wore a dark suit and a 
hard felt hat, and had something of the appearance of 
a miiddle-class paterfamilias out for his annual vacation. 

He glanced quickly in our direction, and, I thought, 
started, as though recognizing one or other of us. 
' Then next mom.ent he was lost in the darkness. 

" Do you know^ that man ? " asked my companion 

" Xo.' Why ? " 

'' I don't know," she answered. " I fancy I've seen 
him somewhere or other before. He looked like a 

That was just my own thought at that moment, 
and I wondered if Gleg; who was lurking near, had 
noticed him. 

" Yes," I said. " But I don't recollect ever ha\-ing 
seen him before. I wonder who he "is? Let's turn 

We did so, but though we hastened our steps, we did 
not find him. He had, it seemed, already left the pier. 
Apparently he believed that he had been recognized. 

Once again we repassed Drury and his friend just as 
the theatre disgorged its crowd of homev/ard-bound 

We were walking in the same direction, Oleg followr 
ing at a respectable distance, and I was enabled to 


obtain a good look at him, for, as though in wonder as 
to whom I could be, he turned several times to eye me, 
with some httle indignation, I thought. 

I judged him to be about twenty-five, over six feet 
in height, athletic and svir>', with handsome, clear-cut, 
clean-shaven features and a pair of sharp, dark, alert 
eyes, which told of an active outdoor life. His face was 
a refined one, his gait easy and swinging, and both in 
dress and manner he betrayed the gentleman. 

Truth to tell, though I did not admit it to Natalia, 
I became very, favourably impressed by him. By his 
exterior he seemed to be a well-set-up, sportsmardike 
young fellow, who might, perhaps, belong to one of the 
Sussex county famihes. 

His friend the doctor was of quite a different t\^e, 
a short, fair-haired man in gold-rimmed spectacles, 
whose face was somewhat unattractive, though it bore 
an expression of studiousness and professional know- 
ledge. He certainly had the appearance of a doctor. 

But before I went farther I resolved to make search- 
ing inquiry unto the antecedents of this mysterious 
Dick Drury. 

The walk in the moonlight along the broad promenade 
tovv-ards Hove was delightful. I begged Her Highness 
to drive, but she preferred to walk ; the autumn night 
was so perfect, she said. 

As we strolled along, she suddenly exclaimed : 

" I can't help recalling that man we saw on the pier. 
I remember now I I met him about a week ago, when 
I was shopping in Western Road, and he followed me 
for quite a distance. He was then much better dressed." 

" You believe, then, he is a Russian ? " I asked 

" I feel certain he is." 

" But you were not alone — Gleg was out with you, 
I suppose ? " 


" Oh, yes," she laughed. " He never leaves me. I 
only wish he would sometimes. I hate to be spied upon 
like this. Either Dmitri or Oleg is always with me," 

" It is highly necessar}'," I declared. " Recollect the 
fate of your poor father." 

" But why should the revolutionists wish to harm 
me — a girl ? " she asked. " My own idea is that they're 
not half as black as they're painted." 

I did not reveal to her the serious facts which I had 
recently learnt. 

" Did you make any mention to Oleg of the man 
following you ? " 

" No, it never occurred to me. But there, I suppose, 
he only followed me, just as other men seem sometimes 
to follow me — to look into my face." 

"You are used to admiration," I said, "and there- 
fore take no notice of it. Pretty women so soon become 

" Oh ! So you denounce me as blase — eh. Uncle 
Colin ? " she cried, just as we arrived before the door 
in Brunswick Square. " That is the latest ! I really 
don't think it fair to criticize me so constantly," and 
she pouted. 

Then she gave me her little gloved hand, and I bent 
over it as I wished her good-night. 

I wished to question Oleg regarding the man we had 
seen, but I could not do so before her. 

I turned back along the promenade, and was walking 
leisurely towards the " Metropole," when suddenly 
from out of the shadow of one of the glass-partitioned 
shelters the dark figure of a man emerged, and I heard 
my name pronounced. 

It was the ubiquitous Hartv>'ig, wearing his gold 
pince-nez. As was his habit, he sprang from nowhere. 
I had clapped my hand instinctively upon my revolver, 
but v/ithdrew it instantly. 


" Good evening, Islr. Trewinnard," he said. " I've 
met you here as I don't want to be seen at the ' Metro- 
pole ' to-night. I have travelled straight through from 
Petersburg here. I landed at Dover this afternoon, 
went up to Victoria, and down here. I arrived at eight 
o'clock, but learning that Her Highness was dining 
with you, I waited until 3'ou left her. It is perhaps as 
well that I am here," he added. 

" Why ? " I asked. 

" Because I've been on the pier with you to-night," 
vras the reply of the chief of the detective department 
of Russia, " and I have seen how closety 3'ou have been 
watched. by a person whom even Oleg Lobko, usually 
so w^ell informed, does not suspect — a person who is 
extremely dangerous. I do not wish to alarm you, 
Mr. Trewinnard," he added in a low voice, " but I 
heard in Petersburg that something is intended here in 
Brighton, and the Emperor sent me post-haste to 

" Who is this person who has been watching us ? 
I asked eagerly. " I noticed him." 

" Oleg doesn't know him, but I do. I have had 
certain suspicions, and only five days ago I made a 
discovery in Petersburg — an amazing discovery — which 
confirmed my apprehensions. The man who has been 
watching you with distinctly evil intent is a most 
notorious and evasive character named Danilo Danilo- 

" Danilovitch ! " I cried. " I know him, but I did 
not recognize him to-night. His appearance has so 

" Yes, it has. But I have been watching him all the 
evening. He returned by the midnight train to 

" I can tell you where he is in hiding," I said. 

" You can ! " he cried. " Excellent ! Then we will 


both go and pay him a surprise call to-morrow. There 
is danger — a grave and imminent danger — for both 
Her Highness and yourself ; therefore it must be removed. 
There is peril in the present situation — a distinct peril 
which I had never suspected. A disaster may happen 
at any moment if we are not wary and watchful. And 
there's another important point, Mr. Trewinnard/' 
added the great detective ; "do you happen to know a 
tall, thin, sharp-featured young man called Richard 
Drury ? " 



Just as the dusk had deepened into grey on the follow- 
ing evening I alighted from a tram in the Low^er Clapton 
Road, and, accompanied by Hartwig, we turned up a 
long thoroughfare of uniform houses, called Powerscroft 
Road, until we reached Blurton Road, where, nearly 
opposite the Mission House, we found the house of 
which we were in search. 

Hartwig had altered his appearance wonderfully, 
and looked more like a Devonshire farmer up in London 
on holiday than the shrewd, astute head of the Surete 
of the Russian Empire. As for myself, I had assumed 
a very old suit and wore a shabby hat. 

The drab, dismal house, v/hich we passed casually in 
order to inspect, was dingy and forbidding, with curtains 
that were faded wdth smoke and dirt, hoUand blinds 
once yellow, but the ends of which were now dark and 
stained, and windows which had not been cleaned for 
years, while the front door was faded and blistered 
and some of the tops of the iron railings in front had been 
broken off. The steps leading to the front door had 
not been hearthstoned as were those of its neighbour. 


while in the area were bits of wastepaper, straw, and the 
flotsam and jetsam of the noisy, overcrowded street. 

Unkempt children were romping or playing hop- 
scotch on the pavement, while some were skipping and 
others playing football in the centre of the road — all 
pupils of the great County Council Schools in the 

At both the basement window and that of the room 
above — the front parlour— were short blinds of dirty 
muslin, so that to see within while passing was impossible. 
In that particular it differed in no way from some of its 
neighbours ; fbr in those parts front parlours are often 
turned into bedrooms, and a separate family occupies 
every floor. Only one fact was apparent — that it was 
the dirtiest and most neglected house in the whole of 
that working-class road, bordering upon the Hackney 

To me that district was as unfamiliar as were the 
wilds of the Sahara. Indeed, to the average Londoner 
Lower Clapton is a mere legendary district, the existence 
of which is only recorded by the name written upon 
tramcars and omnibuses. 

Together we strolled to the bottom of Blurton Road, 
to where Glyn Road crosses it at right angles, and then 
we stopped to discuss our plans. 

" I shall ascend the steps, knock, and ask for 
Danilovitch," the great detective said. " The proba- 
bility is that the door will be unceremoniously slammed 
in my face. But you will be behind me. I shall place 
my foot in the door to prevent premature closijig, and 
at first sign of resistance you, being behind me, will help 
me to force the door, and so enter. . At word from me 
don't hesitate — use all your might. I intend to give 
whoever lives there a sudden and sharp surprise." 

" But if they are refugees, they are desperate. What 


*' I expect they are," he laughed. " This is no doubt 
the hornets' nest. Therefore it behoves us to be wary, 
and have our wits well about us. You're not afraid, 
Mr. Trewinnard ? " 

" Not at all," I said. " Where you dare go, there I 
will follow." 

" Good. Let's make the attempt then," he said, 
and together we strolled leisurely back until we came 
to the flight of unclean front steps, whereupon both of 
us turned and, ascending, Hartwig gave a sharp post- 
man's knock at the door. 

An old, grey -whiskered, ill-dressed man, palpably 
a Polish Jew, opened the door, whereupon Hartwig asked 
in Russian : 

" Is our leader Danilo Danilovitch here ? " 

The man looked from him to me inquiringly. 

*' Tell him that Ivan Arapoff , from Petersburg, wishes 
to speak with him." 

" I do not know, Gospodin, whether he is at home," 
replied the man with politeness. " But I will see, if 
you will wait," and he attempted to close the door in 
our faces. 

Hartwig, however, was prepared for such manoeuvre, 
for he had placed his foot in the door, so that it could 
not be closed. The Polish Jew was instantly on the 
alert and shouted some sharp word of warning, evidently 
a preconcerted signal, to those within, whereat Hartwig 
and myself made a sudden combined effort and next 
second were standing within the narrow e\dl-smelling 
little hall. 

I saw the dark figures of several men and women 
against the stairs, and heard whispered words of alarm 
in Russian. But Hartvv'ig lost no time, for he shouted 
boldly : 

" I wish to see Danilo Danilovitch. Let him come for- 
ward. If he does not do so, then it is at his own peril." 


" If you are police officers you cannot touch us here 
in England ! " shouted a young woman with dark, 
tousled hair, a revolutionist of the female-student 

" We are here from Petersburg as friends, but you 
apparently treat us as enemies," said Hartwig. 

"If you are traitors you will, neither of you, leave 
this house alive," cried a thick-set man, advancing 
towards me threateningly. " So you shall see Danilo- 
vitch — and he shall decide," 

I heard somebody bolting the front door heavily to 
prevent our escape, while a voice from somewhere 
above, in the gloom of the stairs, shouted : 

" Comrades, they are police-spies ! " 

A young, black-haired Jew^ess of a type seen every- 
where in Poland, thin-featured and handsome, with a 
grey shawl over her shoulders, emerged from a door and 
peered into my face. There seemed fully fifteen persons 
m that dingy house, all instantly alarmed at our arrival. 
Here was, no doubt, the London centre of revolutionary'^ 
activity directed against the Russian Imperial family, 
and Danilo Danilovitch was in hiding there. It was 
fortunate, indeed, that the ever-vigilant Tack had suc- 
ceeded in running him to earth. 

I had told Hartwig of the aJlegation which Tack had 
made against Danilovitch, that, though in the service 
of the Secret Police, he had arranged certain attempts 
against members of the Imperial family, and how he 
had deliberately killed his sweetheart, Marie Garine. 
But Hartwig, being chief of the Syrete, had no connec- 
tion with the political department, and was, therefore, 
unaware of any agent of Secret Police known as Danilo- 

" I remember quite well the case of Marie Garine," 
he added. " I thoroughly investigated it and found 
that she had, no doubt, been killed bv her lover. But 


I put it down to jealousy, and as the culprit had left 
Russia I closed the inquiry." 

" Then you could arrest him, even now," I said. 

" Not without considerable delay. Besides, in Peters- 
burg they are against applying for extradition in Eng-i 
land. The newspapers alwa3^s hint at the horrors of 
Siberia in store for the person arrested. And," he added, 
" I agree that it is quite useless to unnecessarily wound 
the susceptibilities of my owti countrymen, the English." 

It was those words he had spoken as we had come 
along Blurton Road. 

Our position at that moment was not a very pleasant 
one, surrounded as we were by a crowd of desperate 
refugees. If any one of them recognized Ivan Hartwig, 
then I knew full well that we should never leave the 
house alive. Men who were conspiring to kill His 
Majesty the Emperor would not hesitate to kill a police 
officer and an intruder in order to preserve their secret. 

" Where is my good friend Danilovitch ? " demanded 
Hartwig, in Russian. " Why does he not come for- 
ward ? " 

" He has not been well, and is in bed," somebody 
replied. " He is coming in a moment. He lives on the 
top floor." 

" Well, I'm in a hurry, comrades," exclaimed the 
great detective with a show of impatience. " Do not 
keep me waiting. I am bearer of a message to you 
all — an important message from our great and beloved 
Chief, the saviour of Russia, whose real identity is a 
secret to all, but whom we know as ' The One ' ! " 

" The One ! " echoed two of the men in Russian. 
" A message from him ! What is it ? Tell us," they 
cried eagerly. 

" No. The message from our Chief is to our com- 
rade Danilovitch. He will afterwards inform you," 
was Hartwig's response. 


" Who is it there who warts me ? " cried an impatient 
voice in Russian over the banisters. 

" I have a message for Danilo Danilovitch," my friend 
shouted back. 

" Then come upstairs," he replied. " Come — both 
of you." 

And we followed a dark figure up to a back room on 
the second floor — a shabby bed and sitting-room com- 

He struck a match, lit the gas and pulled down the 
Dlind. Then as he faced us, a middle-aged man with 
(deeply-furrowed countenance and hair tinged with grey, 
I at once recognized him — though he no longer wore 
tae small black moustache — as the man I had met on 
Brighton Pier on the previous night. 

" Well," he asked roughly in Russian, " what do you 
want with me ? " 

I was gratified that he had" not recognized Ivan 
jiartwig. For a moment he looked inquiringly at me, 
end no doubt recognized me as the Grand Duchess's 
companion of the previous night. 

His hair was unkempt, his neck was thick, and his 
unshaven face was broad and coarse. He had the 
heavy features of a Russian of the lower class, yet his 
prominent, cunning eyes and high, deeply-furrowed 
forehead betokened great intelligence. Though of the 
working-class, yet in his eyes there burned a bright 
rnagnetic fire, and one could well imagine how by his 
inflammatory speeches he led that crowd of ignorant 
aliens into a belief that by killing His Imperial Majesty 
they could free Russia of the autocratic yoke. Those 
men and women, specimens of whom were living in that 
house at Clapton, never sought to aim at the root of 
the evil which had gripped the Empire, that brutal 
camarilla who ruled Russia, but in the madness of their 
blood-lust and ignorance that they were being betrayed 


by their leader, and their lives made catspaws by the 
camarilla itself, they plotted and conspired, and were 
proud to believe themselves martyrs to what they , 
foolishly termed The Cause 1 

The face of the traitor before us was full of craft and 
cunning, the countenance of a shrewd and clever man 
who, it struck me, was haunted hourly by the dread of 
betrayal and an ignominious end. Even though he 
might have been a shoemaker, yet from his perfect self- 
control, and the manner in which he greeted us, I saw 
that he was no ordinary man. Indeed, few men coulc 
have done — would have dared to do — what he had done, 
if all Tack had related were true. His personal appear- 
ance, his unkempt hair, his limp collar and loosely- 
tied cravat of black and greasy silk, and his rough suit ■ 
of shabby dark tweed, his whole ensemble, indeed, was 
that of the political agitator, the revolutionary fire- 

" I am here, Danilo Danilovitch," Hartwig said at 
last very seriously, looking straight at him, " in orde? 
to speak to you quite frankl}', to put to you several 

The man started, and I saw apprehension by the 
shght movement in the comers of his mouth. 

" For what reason ? " he snapped quickly. " £ 
thought you were here vAi\i a message from our Chief 
in Russia ? " 

" I am here with a message, it is true," said the re- 
nowned chief of the Russian Surete. " You had, I 
think, better lock that door, and also make quite certain 
that nobody in this house ov^erhears what I am about 
to say," he added very slowly and meaningly. 

" Why ? " inquired the other with some show of 

" If you do not want these comrades of yours to 
know all your private business, it will be best to lock 


that door and take care that nobody is listening out- 
side. If they are — well, it will be you, Danilo Daniio- 
vitch, who will suffer, not myself," said Hartwig very 
coolly, his eyes fixed upon the agent-provocateur. " I 
urge you to take precautions of secrecy," he added. 
" I urge you — for 3'our own sake ! " 

" For my own sake ! " cried the other. " What do 
you mean ? " 

Hartwig paused for a few seconds, and then, in a 
lower voice, said : 

*' I mean this, Danild Danilovitch. If a single word 
of what I am about to say is overheard by anyone in 
this house you will not go forth again alive. We have 
been threatened by your comrades down below. But 
upon you yourself will fall the punishment which is 
meted out by your comrades to all traitors — death ! " 

The man's face changed in an instant. He stood 
open-mouthed, staring aghast at Hartwig, haggard- 
eyed and pale to the lips. 



*' Now," Hartwig said, assuming a firm, determined 
attitude, " I hope you entire!}- understand me. I 
am well aware of the despicable double gam.e you are 
playing, therefore if you refuse me the information I 
seek I shall go downstairs and tell them how 3'ou are 
employed by His Excellency General Markoff." 

The traitor's face was ashen gre}-. He was, I could 
see, in wonder at the identity of his visitor. Of course 
he knew me, but apparently my companion was quite 
unknown to him. It was always one of Hartwig's 
greatest precautions to remain unknown to any except 
perhaps a dozen or so of the detective poUce immediately 


under his direction. From the Secret or Political 
Police he was always careful to hide his identity, know- 
ing well that by so doing he would gain a free hand in 
his operations in the detection of serious crime. At 
his own house, a neat, modest little bachelor abode 
just outside Petersburg, in the Kuiikovo quarter, he 
was known as Herr Otto Schenk, a German teacher of 
languages, who, possessing a small income, devoted his 
leisure to his garden and his poultry. None, not even 
the agents of Secret Police in the Kuiikovo district, who 
reported upon him regularly each month, even sus- 
pected that he was the renowned head of the Surete. 

Standing there presenting such a bucolic appearance, 
so typically English, and yet speaking Russian per- 
fectly, he caused Danilovitch much curiosity and 

Suddenly he asked of the spy : 

" You were at Brighton last night ? With what 
motive ? Tell me." 

The man hesitated a moment and rephed : 

'* I went there to visit a friend — a compatriot." 

" Yes. Quite true," exclaimed the great police 
official, leaning against the end of the narrow iron 
bedstead. " You went to Brighton with an evil pur- 
pose. Shall I tell you why ? Because you were sent 
there by your emplo\^er General Markoff — sent there 
as a paid assassin ! " 

The fellow started. 

" WTiat do you mean ? " he gasped. 

" Just this. That 5^ou followed a certain lady who 
accompanied this gentleman here — followed and 
watched them for two hours." And then, fixing his 
big, expressive eyes upon the man he was interrogating, 
he added : " You followed them because your intention 
was to carry out the plot conceived by your master — 
the plot to kill them both ! " 


" It's a lie ! " cried the traitor. " There is no plot." 

" Listen," exclaimed Hartwig, in a low, firm voice. 
" It is your intention to commit an outrage, and having 
done so, you will denounce to the police certain persons 
living in this house. Arrests will follow, if any return 
to Russia, the General will be congratulated by the 
Emperor upon his astuteness in lading hands so quickly 
upon the conspirators, and half-a-dozen innocent 
persons will be sentenced to long terms of imprison- 
ment, if they dare ever go back to their own country. 
You see," he laughed, "that I am fully aware of the 
remarkably ingenious programme in progress." 

The man's face was pale as death. He -saw that 
his secret was out. 

" And now," Hartwig went on : " when I tell these 
people who Hve below — your comrades and feUow- 
workers in the revolutionary cause — what wiU they 
say — eh ? WeU, Danilo Danilovitch, I shaU, when 
I've finished with you, leave you to their tender mercies. 
You remember, perhaps, the fate of Boutakoff, the 
infomier at Kieff, how he was attached to a baulk of 
timber and placed upon a circular saw, how Raspopoff 
died of slow starvation in the hands of those whom he 
had betrayed at Moscow, and how Mirski, in Odessa, 
was horribly tortured and killed by the three brothers 
of the unfortunate girl he had given into the hands 
of the pohce. No," he laughed, " your friends show 
neither leniency nor humanity towards those who 
betray them." 

" But you will not do this ! " gasped the man, his 
eyes dilated by fear, now that he had been brought to 

" I have explained my intention," rephed Hartwig 
slowly and firmly. 

" But you will not 1 " he cried. " I — I implore you 
to spare me ! You appear to know everything." 


" Yes," was the reply. " I know how, by 3^our per- 
fidious actions, dozens, nay hundreds, of innocent 
persons have been sent into exile. To the revolu- 
tionists throughout the whole of Russia there is one 
great leader known as ' The One ' — the leader whose 
identity is unknown, but whose word is law among a 
hundred thousand conspirators. You are that man ! 
Your mandates are obeyed to the letter, but you keep 
your identit}^ profoundly secret. These poor mis- 
guided fools who follow you believe that the secrecy as 
to the identity of their fearless leader whom the\' only 
know as ' The Wonder Worker,' or generally ' The 
One,' is due to a fear of arrest. Ah ! Danilo Danilo- 
vitch," he laughed, " you who lead them so cleverly 
are a strong man, and a clever man. You hold the 
fate of all revolutionary Russia in your hand. You 
form plots, you get 3'Our poor, ill-read puppets to carry 
them out, and afterwards \'ou send them to Siberia in 
batches of hundreds. A clever game this game of 
terrorism. But I tell you frankly it is at an end now. 
WTiat will these comrades of yours say when they are 
made aware that ' The One ' — the man beheved by 
so many to be sent providentially to sweep away the 
dynasty and kill the enemies of freedom — is identical 
with Danilo Danilovitch, the bootmaker of Kazan and 
pohce-spy. Rather a blow to the revolutionary 
organization — eh ? " 

" And a blow for you," I added, addressing the 
unkempt-looking fellow for the first time. Though I 
confess that I did not recognize him as the man who 
threw the bomb in Petersburg, I added : "It was you 
who committed the dastardl}- outrage upon the Grand 
Duke Nicholas, and for which many innocent persons 
are now immured in those terrible cells below the water 
at Schusselburg — you who intend that His Imperial 
Highness's daughter ajid m3^self shall die ! " I cried. 


He made no reply. He saw that we were in pos- 
session of all the facts concerning his disgraceful past. 
I could see how intensely agitated he had become, and 
though he was striving to conceal his fear, yet his thin, 
sinewy hands were visibly trembling. 

" You admit, by your silence, that you were 
author of that brutal outrage ! " exclaimed Hart- 
wig quickly. " In it, m}^ friend here narrowly escaped 
with his hfe. Now, answer me this question," 
he demanded imperiously. " With what motive 
did you ' launch that bomb at the Grand Duke's 
carriage ? " 

" With the same motive that every attempt is made," 
was his bold reply. 

" You he ! " Hartwig said bluntly. " That plot was 
not yours. Confess it." 

" No plot is mine. The various revolutionary circles 
form plots, and I, as the unknown head, approve of 
them. But," asked the spj^ suddenly, " who are you 
that \^ou should question me thus ? " 

" I have already given you my name," he said. 
" Ivan Arapoff, of Petersburg." 

" Then, Mr. Arapoff, I think we ma}' change the 
topic of conversation," said the man, suddenly quite 
calm and collected. I detected that, though an un- 
principled scoundrel and without either conscience or 
remorse, his was yet a strong and impelling personality 
— a man who, among the enthusiastic students and the 
3'ounger generation of Russia, which form the bulk of 
the revolutionists, would no doubt be listened to and 
obeyed as a leader. 

" Good. If you wish me to leave you, I will do so. 
I will go and have a little chat with your interesting 
and enlightened friends downstairs," exclaimed Hart- 
wig with a triumphant laugh. Then, turning to me, 
he added : " Come, Mr. Trewinnard, let's go." 


" No ! " gasped the spy. " No, stop ! I — I want to 
fully understand what your intentions are — now that 
you know the truth concerning the identity of * The 
One ' and other recent matters." 

" Intentions ! " echoed the great detective. "I 
kave none. I have merely forewarned you of what you 
must expect — the fate of the informer, unless " 

" Unless what ? " he cried. 

" Unless you confess the object of the outrage upon 
the Grand Duke." 

" I tell you I do not know." 

" But the plot was your own. None of your com- 
rades knew of it." 

" It was not my own." 

" You carried it out ? " 

" And if I admit anything you will hand me oVer to 
the police — eh ? " 

" Surely you know that is impossible in England. 
You cannot be arrested here for a poUtical crime/' 
Hartwig said. 

" I saw you throw the bomb," I added. " You 
were dressed differently, but I now recognize you. 
Come, admit it." 

" I admit nothing," he answered sullenly. " You 
are both of you entirely welcome to your opinions." 

" Forty persons are now in prison for your crime," 
I said. " Have you no remorse — no pity ? " • 

" I have nothing to say." 

" But you shall speak," I cried angrily. " Once 
I nearly lost my life because of the outrage you com- 
mitted, and last night you followed me in Brighton with 
the distinct purpose of kilhng both Her Highness and 
myself. But you were frustrated — or perhaps you 
feared arrest. But I tell \'ou plainly, if ever I catch 
you in our vicinity again I shall hand you over to the 
nearest policeman. And at the police-court the truth 


concerning ' The One ' will quickly be revealed and 
seized upon by the halfpenny press." 

" We need not wait for that, Mr. Trewinnard," 
remarked Hartwig. " We can deal with him this 
evening — once and for all. WTien we leave here we 
shall leave with the knowledge that ' The One ' no 
longer exists and the revolutionary party — Terrorists, 
as they are pleased to call themselves on account of the 
false bogy which the Secret Pohce have raised in Russia 
— will take their own steps towards punishing the man 
to whom they owe all the great disasters which have 
befallen their schemes during the past couple of \-ears. 
Truly, the vengeance of the Terrorist against his 
betrayer is a terrible vengeance indeed." 

As he spoke the creak of a footstep was heard on the 
landing outside the locked door. 

1 raised my linger to command silence, whereupon 
the man known throughout aU revolutionary Russia 
as " The One " crossed the room swiftly, and unlocking 
the door, looked out. But he found no one. 

Yet I feel certain that someone had been lurking 
there. That slow creak of the bare boards showed 
that the pressure of a foot had been released. Yet 
whoever had been listening had escaped swiftly down 
the stairs, now dark and unlighted. Danilovitch re- 
entered the bedroom, his face white as a sheet. 

" Somebody has overheard ! " he gasped in a low, 
hoarse voice. " They know the truth ! " 

" Yes," responded my companion in a hard, distinct 
tone. " They know the truth because of your own 
failure to be frank with us. I warned you. But you 
have not heeded." 

" Your words were overheard," he whispered. 
" They no doubt suspected you to be officers of pohce 
who had found me here in my hiding-place, and were, 
therefore, hstening. I was a fool ! " he cried, throwing 


his hands above his head. " I was an accursed 
fool ! " 

His hps were grey, his dark eyes seemed to be starting 
from his head. 

Weil did he know the terrible fate which awaited 
him as a betra^'er and informer. 

" W^iy did you throw that bomb ? " I cried. " Why 
did you last night follow the Grand Duchess Natalia 
with such e\Tl intent ? Tell me," I urged. 

" No ! " cried /' The One," springing at me fiercely. 
" I \vill tell 3'ou nothing — nothing ! " he shrieked. 
'' You have betrayed me — 3'Ou have cast me into the 
hands of m^' enemies. But, b}^ Heaven ! you shall 
neither of you leave this place ahve," he shrieked. 
" My comuades shall deal with you as you justly deserve. 
I will see that 3'ou are not allovred to speak. Neither 
of you shaU utter a single word against me ! " 

Then with a harsh, triumphant laugh he called 
loudly for help to those belov\'. 

In £n instant Hartwig and I both reahzed that the 
tables had been suddenly and unexpectedly turned 
upon us, and that we were now placed in most deadly 
and imminent peril. The object of the informer was 
to close our mouths at once, for only by so doing could 
he save himself from that terrible fate which must 
assuredly befall him. 

It was his own life — or ours ! 



Quick as lightning, Hartwig drew a big Browning 
revolver and thrust it into the informer's face, 'ex- 
claiming firmly : 

" Another word and. it will be your last ! " 


The fellow started back, unprepared for such defiance. 
He made a movement to cross the room, where no 
doubt he had his own weapon concealed, but the pohce 
officer was too quick for him and barred his passage. 

" Look here ! " he said firmly. " This is a matter 
to be settled between us, ^\ithout any interference 
by your friends here. At word from me they would 
instantly turn upon you as an enemy. Think ! Reflect 
well — before it is too late ! " And he held the revolver 
steadily a foot from the man's hard, pale face. 

Danilo\dtch hesitated. He controlled the so-called 
Terrorist movement with amazing ingenuity, plaving 
three roles simultaneously. He was " The One," the 
mysterious but all-powerful head of the organiza- 
tion ; the ardent worker in the cause known as " the 
shoe-maker of Kazan " ; and the base, unscrupulous 
informer, who manufactured plots, and afterwards 
consigned to prison all those men and women who 
became impUcated in them. 

" If I withdraw my cry of alarm will you promise 
secrecy ? " he asked in a low, cringing tone. 

From the landing outside came sounds of footsteps 
and fierce demands in Russian from those he had sum- 
moned to his assistance. Two of us against twenty 
desperate characters as they were, would, I well knew, 
stand but a poor chance. If he made any allegation 
against us, we should be caught like rats in a trap, and 
killed, as all police-spies are killed when denounced. 
The arm of the Russian revolution is indeed a long one 
— longer than that of the Secret Pohce itself. 

" \Vhat has happened, Danilo ? " demanded a man's 
rough voice. " \\lio are those strangers ? Let us in ! " 

" Speak ! " commanded Hartwig. " Reassure them, 
and let them go away. I have stiU much to say to 
you in private." 

His arm with the revolver was upraised, his eyes 


unwavering. The informer saw determination in his 
gaze. A further word of alarm, and a bullet would 
pass through his brain. 

For a few seconds he stood in sullen silence. 

" .\11 right ! " he shouted to them at last. " It is 
nothing, comrades. I was mistaken. Leave us in 

We heard a murmuring of discontent outside, and 
then the footsteps commenced to descend the steep 
uncarpeted stairs. As they did so, Hartwig dropped 
his weapon, saying : 

" Now let us sit down and talk. I have several 
questions I wish to put to you. If you answer frankly, 
then I promise that I wlU not betra\' you to your 

'' WTiat do you mean by ' frankly ' ? " 

" I mean that you must tell me the exact truth." 

The man's face grew dark ; his brows contracted ; 
ke bit his finger-nails. 

'' Wh.d± was the motive of the attempt you made 
upon the Grand Duke Nicholas and his daughter, and 
the gentleman here, Mr. Trewinnard ? " 

" I don't know," he rephed. 

" But you j'ourself committed the outrage ? " 

'' At the orders of others." 

" WTiose orders ? " 

He did not reply. He was standing against the 
small, cheap chest of drawers, his drawn face fuU in the 
light of the hissing gas-jet. 

" Come," said Hartwig firmly. " I wish to know this.". 

" I cannot tell you." 

" Then I \\ill tell you," the detective said in a hard 
voice. " It was at the orders of your master. General 
Markoff — the man who, finding that you were a revolu- 
tionist, is using you as his tool for the manufacture of 
bogus plots against the Emperor." 


Danilovitch shnigged his shoulders, but uttered ne 

" And you went again to Brighton last night at his 
orders. You " 

" I went to Brighton, I admit. But not at the 
General's orders," he interrupted quickly. 

" WTiy did you go ? \^Tiy did you follow Her 
Imperial Highness and Mr. Trewinnard ? " 

" I followed them because I had an object in so 

" A sinister object ? " 

" No. There 3'ou are mistaken. My object vras 
not a sinister one. It was to watch and endeavour 
to make clear a certain point which is a mystery to me."' 

" A point concerning what ? " 

" Concerning Her Imperial Highness," was his 

" How does Her Highness concern you ? " I asked. 
" You tried to kill her once. Therefore your intentions 
must be evil." 

" I deny that," he protested quickly. " I tell you 
that I went to Brighton without thought of any evil 
intent, and without the orders, or even knowledge, of 
General Markoff." 

" But he is Her Highness's enemy." 

" Yes, Excellency — and yours also." 

" TeU me all that you know," I urged, adopting 
a more concihatory tone. "It is outrageous that this 
oppressor of Russia should conspire to kill an innocent 
m.ember of the Imperial Family." 

" I know nothing of the circum.stances. Excellency," 
he said, feigning entire ignorance. 

" But he gave you orders to throw that bomb," I 
said. " WTiat were your exact orders ? " 

" I am not hkely to betray my employer," he laughed. 

" If you do not answer these questions, then I shall 


carry out my threat of exposure," Hartwig said in a 
hard, determined voice. 

" Well," said the informer hesitatingly, " my orders 
were not to throw the bomb unless the Grand Duchess 
NataHa was in the carriage." 

" Then the plot was to kill her — but unfortunately 
her father fell the victim of the dastardly outrage ! " I 

" Yes," the man replied. " It was to kill her — 
and you. Excellency." 

" But why ? " 

He shrugged his shoulders, and exhibited his palms 
in a gesture of complete ignorance. 

" And your present intention is to effect in Brighton 
what you failed to do in Petersburg — eh ? " 

" I have no orders, and it certainly is not my inten- 
tion," responded the man, whom I remembered at 
that moment had deUberately killed the girl Garine in 
order to preserve his secret. 

I turned from him in loathing and disgust. 

" But you tell me that General Markofi intends that 
we both shall come to an untimely end," I said a few 
moments later. 

" He does. Excellency, and the ingenuity of the plot 
against you both is certainly one which betrays his 
devilish cunning," was the fellow's reply. " I have, I 
assure you, no love for a man who holds my life in the 
hollow of his hand, and whose word I am compelled 
to obey on pain of exposure and death." 

" You_ mean Markoff," I exclaimed. '' Tell me 
something of this plot against me — so that I may be on 
my guard," I urged. 

" I know nothing concerning it. For that very 
reason I went to Brighton yesterday, to try and discover 
something," he said. 

** And what did vou discover ? " 


" A very remarkable fact. At present it is only 
suspicion. I have yet to substantiate it." 

" Cannot you tell me your suspicion ? " 

" Not until I have had an opportunity of proving 
it," was his quiet reply. " But I assure ^-ou that the 
observation I kept upon Her Imperial Highness and 
yourself was with no evil intent." 

I smiled increduloush^ It was hard indeed to 
believe a man of his subtle and unscrupulous character. 
All that Tack had told me crowded through my brain. 
As the catspaw of I\Iarkoff, it was not hkely that he 
would teU me the truth. 

Hart wig was leaning easily against the wooden 
mantelshelf, watching us keenly. Of a sudden an idea 
occurred to me, and addressing the informer, I said : 

" I believe you are acquainted with my friend Madame 
de Rosen and her daughter. Tell me what you know 
concerning them." 

" They were arrested and exiled to Siberia for the 
attempt in the Nevski on the return of the Emperor 
from the south," he said promptly. 

Hartwig interrupted, saying gravely : 

" And that attempt, Danilo Danilovitch, was con- 
ceived by you — conceived in order to strike terror 
into the Emperor's heart. You formed the plot and 
handed over the list of the conspirators to your em- 
ployer, Markoff — you, the person known to the Party 
of the People's Will as ' The One.' " 

" I knew of the plot," he admitted. " And though 
I gave certain names to the police, I certainly did not 
include the names of Madame de Rosen or of Made- 
' " Why was she arrested ? " 

He was silent for a few moments. 

" Because her presence in Petersburg was dangerous 
to the General," he said at last sullenly. 


" You know this — eh ? You are certain of it — you 
have evidence, I mean ? " asked Hartwig. 

" You ask me for the truth," the informer said, 
" and I tell you. I was extremely sorry for Madame 
and the young lad}', for I knew them when I carried on 
my trade as bootmaker. An hour after their arrest, 
at about four o'clock in the morning, the General 
ordered me to go and search their house for certain 
letters which he described to me — letters which he 
was extremely anxious to obtain. I went alone, as he 
did not wish to alarm the neighbourhood by a domi- 
ciliary visit of the police. I searched the house for 
nearly nine hours, but failed to discover them. While 
still engaged in the investigation I was recalled to the 
house where it is my habit to meet the General in 
secret, when he told me that by a false promise of 
release he had extracted from Madame a statement that 
the letters were no longer in her possession, and that 
Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Natalia held 
them in safe keeping. Madame, perfectly innocent as 
she was of any connection with the conspirators, ex- 
pected to be released after telling the truth ; but the 
General said that he had only laughed in her face and 
ordered her and her daughter to be sent off with the 
next convoy of prisoners — who were leaving for Siberia 
that same night. By this time the ladies are, I expect, 
already in the great forwarding-prison at Tomsk.'' 

" And the letters ? " I demanded, my blood boiling 
at hearing his stor}'." 

" I was ordered to search for them," Danilovitch 
replied. " The General gave me instructions how to 
enter the palace of the Grand Duke Nicholas and there 
to investigate the apartments of the Grand Duchess 
Natalia. I refused at first, knowing that if I were 
detected as an intruder I should be shot at sight by 
the sentries. But he insisted," the man added. " He 


told me that if I persisted in my refusal he would expose 
me as a spy. So I was compelled to make the attempt, 
well knowing that discovery meant certain death. The 
sentries have orders to shoot any intruder in the Grand 
Ducal palace. On four occasions I went there at 
imminent risk, and on the fourth I was successful. I 
found the letters concealed in a room which had once 
been used as Her Highness's nursery." 

" And what did you do with them ? " 

" I met the General at our usual meeting-place and 
handed them to him. He was at first delighted. But 
a moment later, finding that the seal of the envelope 
in which were the letters had been broken, he charged 
me with reading them. I denied it, and " 

*' Then you did not read them ? You do not know 
what they contained, or who they were from ? " 

" They were from General Markofi himself. I looked 
at the signatures, but, alas ! I had no time to read 
them. I drove straight to the meeting-place, where 
the General was awaiting me." 

" They were from the General I" I echoed. " To 
whom ? " 

" They bore his signature — one a long letter, closely 
written," was the informer's repty. " Seeing that 
the seal had been broken, the General flew into a sudden 
rage and declared that the Grand Duchess Natalia had 
learned what they contained. The words he used to 
me were : ' The girl must be silenced — silenced at once, 
Danilovitch. And you must silence her. She knows 
the truth ! ' " 

" Well ? " I asked. 

" Well," he said, his mouth drawn and hard, " under 
compulsion and more threats of exposure, I launched the 
bomb, which, alas ! killed her father, while the young 
lady escaped unhurt." 

"Then he still intends that Her Highness shall die ? 


His warning the other day was no idle attempt to 
terrorize me ? '' 

" No, Excellency. Take every precaution. The. 
General means mischief, for he is in hourly fear lest 
Her Highness should expose certain facts contained 
in those fateful letters which have already cost two 
ladies their liberty and a Grand Duke and several 
Cossacks their lives." 

"Is this the actual truth?" asked Hartwig in a 
changed voice, looking the informer full in the face. 

"Yes," he answ^ered solemnly. " I have told you 
the truth ; therefore I believe your solemn w^ord that 
you will make no exposure to the Party." 

" If you will disassociate yourself from these dastardly 
actions," he said. 

" Ah ! " sighed the other in despair, " that is im- 
possible. The General holds me alw-a^^s to the com- 
pact I made with him. But I beg of you to be warned," 
he added. " Her Highness is daily in gravest peril ! " 



Shortly after eleven o'clock that same evening I was 
strolling with Hartwig up and down the deserted plat- 
form at Victoria Station, my intention being to take 
the eleven-fifty p.m. train back to Brighton. 

For a full hour we had pressed the informer to explain 
the real reason of his visit to Brighton on the previous 
day. But beyond assuring us that it was not wdth any 
evil intent — which I confess we could scarcety believe 
— he declined to reveal anything. 

He only repeated his warning that Natalia was in 
grave personal danger, and entreated me to be careful. 

The refugees in that house, all of them Russians, 


seemed filled with intense curiosity regarding us, and 
especially so, perhaps, because of Hartwig's declara- 
tion that he was bearer of a message from that mys- 
sterious leader who was believed to live somewhere 
in Moscow, and was known throughout the Russian 
Empire as " The One." 

No doubt after our departure Danilovitch had told 
them of some secret message he had received from the 
mysterious head of the organization, who was none 
other than himself. 

But his confession had held both of us practically 
silent ever since we had left that dingy house in Lower 

" Markoff believes that Her Highness is aware of 
the contents of those letters," Hartwig said as we 
strolled together in the great, well-lit station. Few 
people were about just at that hour, for the suburban 
theatre-goers had not yet arrived. " For that reason 
it is intended that her mouth shall be closed." 

" But this is murder ! " I cried in hot indignation. 
" I will go straight to the Emperor, and tell him." 

" And what benefit would that be ? His Majesty 
would declare it to be an effort by some of the General's 
enemies to disgrace him," my companion said. " Such 
damning statements have been made before, but, alas 1 
no heed has been taken of them ! " 

" But His Majesty shall hear — and he shall take 
notice ! I will demand in inquiry into the arrest and 
exile of Madame de Rosen." 

" I thought \'0u told me that you had already men- 
tioned her name to His Majesty," Hartwig said quietly. 

I had forgotten. Yes. His words recalled to me my 
effort on her behalf, and the futihty of my appeal. I 
sighed, and bit my lip. The two innocent ladies were 
on their way to that far-off dreaded penal settlement of 
Yakutsk. From the time which had elapsed since 


their arrest I calculated that they were already in 
Siberia, trudging that long, never-ending post-road — 
that wide, deeply-rutted track which runs across those 
boundless plains between Tobolsk and Tomsk — on the 
first stage of their terrible journey of over six thousand 
miles on foot. 

A sudden suggestion flashed across my mind. Should 
I follow, overtake them and hear the truth from Mar\-a 
de Rosen's lips ? 

Yet before doing so I should be compelled to apply 
for a passport and permits at the Ministr\^ of the Interior 
at Petersburg. If I did this, Markoff would at once 
suspect my intention, for travellers do not go to Siberia 
for pleasure. And if he suspected my intention a way 
would quickly be found by which, when I arrived at 
my destination, neither of the ladies would be aUve. 
In Siberia, where there is neither law nor inquiry, it 
was, I knew, ver\^ easy to close the hps of any person 
w^hcse existence might be prejudicial to the authorities. 
A w^ord from General Markoff, and an accident would 
certainly occur. 

No. I realized that to relax my vigilance over the 
safety of Natalia at that moment would be most in- 
judicious. Besides, was not Xataha herself aware of 
the contents of the letters ? If not, why had her 
enemies made the firm determination that she should 
meet with a sudden and mysterious end ? 

I mentioned to my companion my inchnation to 
travel across Siberia in search of the exiles ; but he 
only shook his head gravely, saying : 

'' You are, no doubt, under very close observation. 
Even if you went, 3'ou might, by so doing, place yourself 
in grave personal peril. Remember, Markoff is despe- 
rate. The contents of those letters, whatever they may 
be, are evidently so damning that he cannot afford 
exposure. The pains he took to secure them, and to 


send Madame de Rosen into exile, plainly show this. 
No," he added, " the most judicious plan is to remain 
here, near Her Highness, and watch Markoff's 

" If Her Highness would only reveal to me the 
secret of those letters, then we should be in a position 
to defy Markoff and reveal him before, the Emperor in 
his true light," I said. 

" She has refused — eh ? " 

" Yes. I have questioned her a dozen times, but 
always with the same result," was my answer. 

" But will she refuse, if she knows that her father's 
tragic end was due to the wild desire of Markoff to close 
her lips ? " 

" Yes. I have already pointed that out to her. Her 
reply is that what she learnt was in confidence. It is 
her friend's secret, and she cannot betray it. She is 
the very soul of honour. Her word is her bond." 

" You wiU tell her now of Danilovitch's confession ; 
how the letters were stolen and handed back to the 
General by the man whom he holds so completely in 
his power ? " Hartwig said. 

" I shaU. But I fear it wiU make no difference. 
She is, of course, eager to expose the General to the 
Emperor and effect his do\Mifall. She is fully aware 
of his corrupt and brutal maladministration of the 
department of Political Police, of the bogus plots, and 
the wholesale deportment of thousands of innocent 
persons. But it seems that she gave a pledge of secrecy 
to poor madame, and that pledge she refuses to break at 
any cost. ' It is Marv'a's secret,' she told me, ' not 
mine.' " 

As we were speaking, a taU, straight, good-looking 
young man in crush-hat and black overcoat over his 
dinner-clothes had strolled along the platform awaiting 
the train. 



My eyes caught his features as he went, when sud- 
denly I recognized in the 3'Oung man Richard Dru^\^ 
whom Her Highness had told me she had known in her 
school-days at Eastbourne. I glanced after him and 
watched his figure retreating leisurel}^ as he smoked a 
cigarette until he came beneath a lamp where he 
halted. Then, producing an evening paper, he com- 
menced to while away the time by reading. He was 
e\ddently returning to Brighton by my train. 

Apparently the }'oung fellow had not recognized me 
as Miss Gottorp's companion of the previous night, 
therefore standing near, I had an opportunity of 
examining him well. He was certainly a typical speci- 
men of the keen, clean-shaven young EngHshman, a 
man who showed good-breeding, and whose eas}" air 
was that of the gentleman. 

Yet I confess that what Her Highness had revealed 
to me both alarmed and annoyed me. Madcap that 
she was, I knew not what folly she might commit. 
Nevertheless, after all, so long as she preserved her 
incGg?itio no great harm would be done. It was hard 
upon her to den\^ her the least suspicion of flirtation, 
especially v/ith one whom she had known in the days 
before she had put up her hair and put on her ankle- 

Hart-wdg and I were undecided what our next move 
should be, and we were discussing it. One fact was 
plain, that in view of the assertion of Danilovitch, I 
v/ould now be compelled to keep constant watch over 
the skittish young lady whom the Em.peror had given 
into my charge. My idea of following and overtaking 
Madame de Rosen in Siberia was out of all question. 

" Are you remaining long in London ? " I asked 
the police official, just as I was about to step into the 

" Wno knows ? " he laughed. " I am at the ' Savo}/.' 


The Embassy is unaware I am in England. But I 
move quickly, as you know. Perhaps to-morrow I 
may have to return to Petersburg. An revoir." 

And I wished him adieu, and got into an empty first- 
class compartment just as the train was moving from 
the platform. 

I sat in the corner of the carriage full of grave and 
apprehensive thoughts. 

That strange suspicion which the Emperor had 
revealed to me on the afternoon before the last Court 
ball recurred to me. I held my breath as a sudden 
idea flashed across my brain. Had it any connection 
with this foul but cunningly-conceived plot to kill an 
innocent girl whose only offence was that she was in 
possession of certain information which, if revealed, 
would, I presumed, cause the downfall of that camarilla 
surrounding the Emperor ? 

The thought held me in wonder. 

Ah ! if only the Emperor would listen to the truth 
— if only he would view Markoff and his friends in 
their true character ! But I knew, alas ! that such 
development of the situation was impossible. Russia, 
and with her the Imperial Court, was being terrorized 
by these desperate attempts to assassinate the Em- 
peror. Hence His Majesty relied upon Markoff for 
the safety of the dynasty. He looked upon him as a 
marvel of astuteness and cunning, as indeed he was. 
But, alas ! the burly, grave-eyed man who led a life 
haunted by the hourly fear of death — an existence in 
armoured rooms and armoured trains, ani^ surrounded 
by guards whom he even grew to suspect — was in 
ignorance that the greater part of the evidence of con- 
spiracies, incriminating correspondence and secret 
proclamations put before him had been actually manu- 
factured by Markoff himself ! 

At last, after an hour, the express ran slowly into the 


Brighton terminus, and as it did so, I caught sight of 
a figure waiting upon the platform, which caused me 
to quickly draw back. The figure was that of a young 
girl neatly dressed in black with a small black hat, and 
though she wore a veil of spotted net I recognized her 
at once as Natalia ! She was smiling and waving her 
tiny black-gloved hand to someone. In an instant I 
knew the truth. She was there, even though it were 
past one o'clock in the morning, to meet her lover, 
Richard Drur}\ 

I saw him spring out, raise his hat and shake her 
hand warmly, and then, taking care not to be seen, I 
followed them out as they walked side by side down 
the hill in the direction of King's Road. 

This action of hers showed her recklessness and lack 
of discretion. Apparently she had walked all the way 
from Hove in order to meet him, and as they strolled 
together along the dark, deserted road he was evidently 
explaining something to her, while she listened very 

Surely it was unsafe for her to go forth like that ! 
I was surprised that Miss West allowed it. But, in all 
probability that worthy lady was in bed, and asleep, 
all unconscious of her charge's escapade. 

I had not followed very far before I became aware 
of a footstep behind me, and, turning, I saw a small, 
insignificant-looking man in dark clothes, who came 
quickly up to me. It was one of the poHce-agents 
employed at the house in Brunswdck Square. 

" WeU, Dmitri ! " I exclaim.ed in a low voice in 
French. " So you are looking after your young mis- 
tress — eh ? " I asked, with a laugh, pausing to speak 
with him in order to aUow the lovers to get further 

" Yes, m'sieur," replied the man in a tone of distinct 


'' This is hardly wise of Her Higliness," I said. " This 
is not the hour to go out for a stroll." 

"No, m'sieur," replied the shrewd agent of police, 
who had been for years employed at the palace of the 
late Grand Duke Nicholas in Petersburg. " I tell you 
I do not think it either safe or proper. These constant 
meetings must result in scandal." 

" WTio is that young man .^ " I asked quickly. " Yoii 
have made inquir\% no doubt ? " 

" Yes, m'sieur, I have. But I can learn very little. 
He seems to be a complete mystery — an adventurer, 
perhaps," declared the suspicious pohce-agent in a low, 
hard voice ; adding : " The fact is, that man who 
calls himself Richard Drur\^ is, I feel sure, no fit com- 
panion for Her Imperial Highness." 

" Why not ? " I demanded in eager surprise. 

" Because he is not," was the mean's enigmatical 
repfy. " I do hope m'sieur wdll warn Her Imperial 
Highness of the danger," he said reflectively, looking 
in the direction of the retreating figures. 

" Danger ! " I echoed. " What danger ? " 

" There is a grave danger," he asserted firmly. 
" I have watched, as is my duty, and I know. Her 
Highness endeavours all she can to evade my vigilance, 
for naturally it is not pleasant to be watched while 
carr\4ng on a flirtation. But she does not know what 
I have discovered concerning this stranger with whom 
she appears to have fallen so deeply in love. They must 
be parted, m'sieur — parted at once, before it is too 

" But what have you discovered ? " I asked. 

" One astounding and most startling fact," was his 
slow, dehberate reply ; "a fact which demands their 
immediate separation." 




" Now, Uncle Colin ! It's reaUy too horrid of you to 
spy upon me like that ! I had no idea you wefe beliind 
u5 ! I knew old Dmitri was there — he watches me just 
as a cat watches a mouse. But I never thought you 
would be so nasty and mean ! " And the girl in her 
fresh white gown stood at the window of the drawing- 
room drumming impatiently upon the pane with the 
tips of her long, white lingers, for it was raining outside. 

" My dear Natalia," I said paternally, standing upon 
the white goat-skin hearthrug, and looking across at 
her ; "I did not watch you intentionally. I travelled 
by the same train as your friend, and I saw you meet 
him. Really," I laughed, " you looked a most interest- 
ing pair as you walked together down Queen's i^'oad. 
I left you at the comer of Western Road and went on 
to the ' Metropole.' " 

" Oh ! you actually did have the decency to do 
that ! " she exclaimed, turning to me her pretty face 
clouded by displeasure. " WeU, I say quite frankly 
that I think it was absolutely horrid of you. Surely 
I may meet a friend without being spied upon at every 
turn ! " she added resentfully. 

" Dmitri only does his duty, remember," I ventured 
to remark. 

" Oh, Dmitri's a perfect plague. He shadows me 
everywhere. His crafty face irritates me whenever 
I see it." 

" This constant surveillance is only for 3'our own 
protection," I said. " Recollect that you are a member 
of the Imperial family, and that already six of your 
uncles and cousins, as well as your poor father, have 


met with violent deaths at the hands of the revolu- 

" I know. But it is perfectly absurd ever to dream 
that they want to kill me — a girl whose only object 
is to live quietly and enjoy her life." 

"And her flirtations," I added, striving to make her 

I was successful, for a smile came to her pretty, 
pouting lips, and she said : 

" Well, Uncle CoHn, other girls may flirt and have 
men friends. Therefore I can't see why it is so actually 
sinful for me to do the same." 

" But think for a moment of your position ! " 

" Position ! " she echoed. " I'm only plain Miss 
Natalia Gottorp here. VtTi}^ should I studv my 
family ? " 

" Ah ! " I sighed. " I know how wayward you are. 
No amount of argument will, I fear, ever convince you 
of your error." 

" Oh, yes," she sighed, in imitation of the sadness 
of my tone, sa\dng : "I know what a source of trouble 
and deep anxiety the wicked, wayw^ard child is to you." 

Then, next moment, she burst out into a merry, 
mischievous laugh, adding : 

" It's reaUy too bad of me to tease you, poor old 
Uncle Colin, isn't it ? But there, you're not really 
old. I looked you up in ' Who's WTio ' only yester- 
day. You're only thirty-tw^o next Thursday week. 
And if you are a very good boy I'll give you a nice 
little present. Shall I work you a pair of shppers — 
eh ? " she asked, with sarcasm, " or a winter waist- 
coat ? " 

" Thanks. I hate girls' needlework," I repUed 
frankty, amused at her sudden change of demeanour. 

" Very well. You shall have a new cigarette-case, 
a solid gold one, with our grand Imperial arms engraved 


on it and underneath the words ' From Tattie.' How 
will that do — eh ? " she laughed. 

" Ah ! now you're only tr^dng to tease me," I said. 
" I wonder if you tease Mr. Drury like that ? " 

" Oh ! Dick knows me. He doesn't mind it in the 
least," she declared, looking at me with those wonder- 
ful eyes that were so much admired everjrwhere. 
" Have a cigarette," and she handed me a box of 
Petroffs, and taking one herself, lit it, and then threw 
herself neghgently into an arm-chair, lazily displaying 
a pair of neat silk stockinged ankles and patent-leather 

" I certainly tliink that Mr. Dick is a ver>^ lucky 
young fellow," I said, " though I tell you openly that 
I entirely disapprove of these constant meetings. 
Remember your promise to me before we left Peters- 

" Well, I've been a very wa^^'ard child — even an 
incorrigible child, I suppose — and I've broken my 
promise. That's all," she said, blowing a cloud of 
smoke from her red lips. Like all Russian ladies, 
she enjoyed a cigarette. 

" I certainly think you ought to have kept your 
word," I said, 

" But Dick, I tell you, is an old friend. I couldn't 
cut him, could I ? " 

" You need not have cut him," I said. '' But I 
consider it unnecessary to steal out of the house after 
Miss West has gone to bed, and meet him at the station 
at one o'clock in the morning." 

" Then upon that point we'll agree to differ. Fm 
old enough to be my own mistress, and if you continue 
to lecture me, I shall be very annoyed with you." 

" My dear Natalia, I do not blame you in the least 
for falling in love. How can I ? " I said in a changed 
tone, for I knew that the young lady so petted and 


spoiled by her earlier training must be treated with 
greatest caution and tact. " Why, shall I confess a 
truth ? " I asked, looking her straight in the face. 

" Yes, do," she said. 

" Well, if I were ten years younger I should most 
certainly fall in love with you m^^self," I laughed. 

" Don't be so silly. Uncle Cohn ! " she exclaimed. 
" But would that be so very terrible ? WTiy, you're 
not an old man yet," she added, her cheeks having 
flushed slightly at my words. 

" Now you're blushing," I said. 

" I'm not ! " she cried stoutly. " You're simply 
horrid this morning," she declared vehemently, turning 
away from me. 

" Is it horrid of me to pay you a compliment ? " 
I asked. " I merely expressed a devout wish that 
I were standing in Drury's shoes. Every man likes 
to be kissed by ?. pretty girl, whether she be a shop- 
girl or a Grand Duchess." 

" Oh, yes. You are quite right there. Most men 
make fools of themselves over women." 

" Especially ' when their beauty is so world-famed 
as that of the Grand Duchess Natalia I " 

" Now, there you are again ! " she cried. "I do 
wish you'd change the topic of conversation. You're 
horrid, I say." 

And. she gave a quick gesture of impatience, blew 
a great cloud of smoke from her lips and. put down her 
half-consumed cigarette upon the little silver ash- 

" Oh, my ! " she exclaimed at last. " What a funny 
lover you would make, Uncle Colin ! You fancy 
yourself as old as Methuselah, and your hide-bound 
ideas of etiquette, your straitlaced morality, and your 
respect of les convenances are those in vogue when 
your revered Queen Victoria ascended the throne 


of Great Britain. You're not living with the times, 
my dear uncle. You're an old-fashioned diplomat. 
To-day the world is very different to that in which your 
father was bom." 

" I quite agree. And I regret that it is so," I replied. 
" These are surely very lax and degenerating days, 
when girls may go out unchaperoned, and the meeting 
of a man in the early hours of the morning passes 

" It unfortunately hasn't passed unremarked/' she 
said, with a pretty pout. " You take jolly good care 
to rub it in every moment ! It really isn't fair," she 
declared. "I'm very fond of you, Uncle Colin, but you 
are really a little too old-fashioned." 

" You 'are comparing me with 3^oung Drury, I 
suppose ? " 

" Oh, Dick isn't a bit old-fashioned, I assure you," 
she declared. " He's been at Oxford. He doesn't 
dream and let the world go b\'. But, Uncle Colin," 
she went on, " I wonder that 3'ou, a diplomat, are so 
stiff and proper. I suppose it's the approved British 
diplomatic training. I'm only a girl, and therefore 
am not supposed to know any of the tremendous 
secrets of diplomac\\ But it always strikes me that, 
for the most part, 3'ou diplomats are exceptionally 
dull folk. In our Court circle we always declare them 
to be inflated with a sense of their own importance, 
and fift\^ 3'ears behind the times." 

I laughed outright. Her view was certainly a 
common-sense one. The whole training of British 
diplomac}^ is to continue the traditions of Pitt and 
Beaconsfield. Diplomacy does not, alas ! admit a 
new and modern regime affecting the world ; it ignores 
modem thought, modem conditions and modem 
methods. " Up-to-date " is an expression unknown 
in the diplomat's vocabulary. The Foreign Office 


instil the lazy, do-nothing policy of the past, the 
traditions of Palmerston, Clarendon and Dudley are 
still the traditions of to-day in every British Embassy 
throughout the world ; and, unfortunately for Britain, 
the lesson has yet to be learned by our diplomacy that 
to be strong is to be acute and subtle, and to be dic- 
tatorial is to be entirely up-to-date. The German 
diplomacy is that of keen progress and anticipation ; 
that of Turkey craft and cunning ; of France, tact, 
with exquisite politeness. But Britain pursues her 
heavy, blundering " John Bull " programme, which, 
though effective in the days of Beaconsfield, now only 
results in the nation's isolation and derision, certain of 
her ambassadors to the Powers being familiarly known 
at the Courts to which they are accredited as " The 
Man with the Gun." 

" What you say is, in a sense, quite true," I ad- 
mitted. " But I'm so sorry if Tm really very dull. 
1 don't mean to be." 

" Oh ! You'll improve under my tuition — and Dick's 
— no doubt," she exclaimed reassuringly. 

Her Highness was nothing if not outspoken. 

" The fact is. Uncle Colin," she went on seriously, 
" you're far too old-fashioned for your age. You are 
not old, but your ideas are so horribly antiquated. 
Girls of to-day are allowed a freedom which our grand- 
mothers would have held as perfectly sinful. Girls 
have become independent. A young fellow takes a girl 
out to dinner and to the theatre, and even to supper 
nowadays, and nobody holds up their hands in pious 
horror — only you ! It isn't fair," she declared. 

" Girls of the people are allowed a great deal of 
latitude, I admit. And as far as I can see, the world 
is none the worse for it," I said. " But what other 
girls may do, you, an Imperial Highness, unfortunately 
may not " 


** That's just where we don't agree," she said in a 
tone meant to be impertinent, her straight nose slightly- 
raised as she spoke. " I intend to do as other girls do 
— at least, while I'm plain Miss Gottorp. They call 
me the ' Little Alien ' — so Miss West heard me called 
the other day." 

" No," I said very firmly, looking straight at her 
as she lolled, easily in her chair, her chin resting on her 
white palm as she gazed at me from beneath her long, 
dark lashes. " You really must respect the con- 
venances. If you take a stroU with young Drury, do 
so at least in the daylight." 

" And with Dmitri watching me aU the time from 
across the road. Not quite," she said. " I like the 
Esplanade when it is quiet and everybody is in bed. 
It is so pleasant on these warm nights to sit upon a 
seat and enjoy the moonlight on the sea. Sounds like 
an extract from a novel, doesn't it ? " and she laughed 

" I fear you are becoming romantic," I said. ■ " Every 
girl becomes so at one period of her life." 

" Do you think so ? " she asked, smihng. " Myself, 
I don't fancy I have any romance in me. The 
Romanoffs are not a romantic lot as a rule. They 
are usually too mercenary. I love nice things." 

" Because you are cultured and possess good taste. 
That is exactly what leads to romance." 

*' I have the good, taste to choose Dick as a friend, 
I suppose y^ou mean ? " she asked, with an intention 
to irritate me. 

''Ah, I did not exactly say that." 

" But you meant it, nevertheless. You know you 
did, Uncle Colin." 

I did not reply for a few moments. I was recalling 
what Dmitri had told me — that strange allegation of 
his that this young man, Richard Drury, was an enigma, 


an adventurer. He had told me that he was no fit 
companion for her, and yet when pressed, he apparently 
could give no plain reason. He had. been unable to 
discover much concerning the young fellow — probably 
because of his failure it seemed he had become convinced 
that the object of his inquiry was an adventurer. 

Suddenly rising, I stood before her, and placing my 
hand upon her shoulder, said : 

" I came here this morning to speak to you very 
seriously, Natalia. Can you really be serious for 
once ? " 

" I'm always serious," she replied. " Well — another 
lecture ? " 

" No, not a lecture, you incorrigible little flirt. I 
want to ask you a plain question. Please answer me, 
for a great deal — a very great deal — depends upon it. 
Are you aware of what was contained in those letters 
w^hich Madame de Rosen gave you for safe-keeping ? " 

" I have long ago assured you that I am. Why do 
you ask again ?-" 

" Because there is one point which I wish to clear 
up," I said. " I thought you told me that they were 
in a sealed envelope ? " 

" So they were. But when I heard of Marya's 
exile, and that Luba had been sent with her, I broke 
open the seal and investigated the contents." 

" And what did you find ? " 

"Ah! That is my business. Uncle Colin. I have 
already told you that I absolutely refuse to betray the 
secrets of my poor dear friend. You surely ought not 
to ask me. You have no right to press me to commit 
such a breach of trust." 

" I ask you because so much depends upon the extent 
of your knowledge," I said. " I have already solved 
the secret of the disappearance of the letters from the 
place where you hid them in the palace." 


" Then you know who stole them ! " she gasped, 
starting to her feet. " Tell me. Who was the thief ? " 

" A man whom 3^ou do not know. He has confessed 
to me. He was not a willing thief, but a wretched 
assassin, whom General Markoff holds as his catspaw, 
aiid compels to perform his dirty work." 

" Then the General has secured them ! My suspicions 
are confirmed ! " she gasped, all the colour dying from 
her beautiful face. 

" He has. The theft was committed under com- 
pulsion, and at imminent risk to the thief, who most 
certainly would have been shot by the sentries, if dis- 
covered. The letters were handed by him back to 
General Markoff." 

My words held her dumbfounded for a few seconds. 
She did not speak. Then she said in a hard, changed 
tone : 

" Ah ! Markoff has destroyed them ! The proof no 
longer exists, therefore I am powerless ! How I wish 
I were permitted to speak — to reveal the truth ! " 

Her teeth were set, her face was white and hard, and 
the fingers of both hands had clenched themselves into 
the palms. 

" But you know the truth ! " I cried. " Will you 
not speak ? Will you never reveal it ? It is surely 
your duty to do so," I urged. 

But she only shook her head sadly, saying : 

" I cannot betray her confidence." 

." Remember," t said, " by exposing this secret 
which Markoff has been at such infinite' pains to keep, 
you can perhaps obtain the release of poor Marya and 
her daughter ! Is it not your plain duty ? " I urged 
in a low, earnest voice. 

But she only again shook her head resolutely. 

" No, I cannot expose the secrets of my lost friend. 
It was her secret which I swore to her I would never 



revea^" she responded in a harsh, strained voice. 
" Mar'ioff has secured the proofs and destroyed them. 
I suspected it from the lirst. That brute is my bitterest 
enemy, as he is also Marya's. But, aias ! he is all- 
powerfii ! He has played a clever double game — ahd 
he has won — he has won ! " 


SHOWS hartvvig's anxiety 

Her Highniss's firm refusal to reveal to me the 
contents of those letters, the knowledge of which had 
caused Madame de Rosen and her daughter to be sent 
to Siberia, while the Grand Duke Nicholas, her father, 
had lost his life, disappointed me. 

For a full hour I remained there, tr^'ing by all means 
in my power 1o persuade her to assist me in the over- 
throw of the hated Chief of Secret Police. 

She would rave done so, she declared, were it not 
for the fact tlat she had given her solemn word of 
honour to Marya de Rosen not to divulge anything she 
knew concemir^ the contents of those mysterious 
letters. That compact she held sacred. She had given 
her faithful pronise to her friend. ' 

I pointed out to her the determination she had 
expressed, to me in Petersburg that she intended to 
reveal to the Emjeror his favourite in his true light, 
and thus avenge ihe lives of thousands of innocent 
persons who had di^d on their way to exile or in the 
foetid, overcrowded prisons of Moscow, and Tomsk, 
and the vermin-infested Stapes of the Great Post Road. 

But in reply she signed deeply, and, looking straight 
before her in desperaton, declared that she had now 
no proof ; and even f she had, she had not the 



permission of Mary a de Rosen to make the exposure. 
"It is her secret — her own personal secret," sle said. 
" I vowed not to reveal it." 

Then for th^ first time I indicated her ovn peril. 
Hitherto I had not wished to alarm her. Bit I now 
showed her how it would be to the advanta^^e of the 
General, cunning, daring and unscrupulous ts he was, 
that some untoward incident should occur by which 
her life would be sacrificed in his desperate to 
conceal the truth. 

In silence she listened to me, her beaut'ful face pale 
and graver than I had ever before seen it At last she 
realized the peril. 

" Ah ! " she sighed, and then, as though speaking 
to herself, said : "If only I could obtain Marya's con- 
sent to speak — to tell the Emperor the truth ! But 
that is now quite impossible. No letter could ever 
reach her, and, indeed, we have no idei where she is. 
She is, alas ! as dead to the world as tiough she were 
in her grave ! " she added sadly. 

I reflected fOr a moment. 

" If it were not that I feared lest misfortune might 
befall you during my absence. Highness, I would at 
once follow and overtake her." 

" Oh, but the long journey to Siberia ! Why, it 
would take you at least six months ! That is quite 

" Not impossible. Highness," I responded very 
gravely. " I am prepared to uncertake the journey 
for your sake — and hers — for the s;:ke of the Emperor." 

" Ah ! I know, Uncle Colin, how good you always 
are to me, but I couldn't ask you to undertake a winter 
journey such as that, in search o poor Marya." 

" If I go, will you, on your pat, promise me solemnly 
not to go out on these night ecapades ? Indeed, it is 
not judicious of you to walk out at all, unless one or 


other oi the police-agents is in close attendance upon 
you. One never knows, in these present circumstances, 
what may happen," I said. " And as soon as Markoff 
iknows that I have set out for Siberia, he will guess the 
reason, and endeavour to bring disaster upon both of 
us, as well as upon the exile herself." 

For some minutes she did not reply. Then she said : 

" You must not go. It is too dangerous for you — ■ 
far too dangerous. I will not allow it." 

" If you refuse to reveal Marya's secret, then I shall 
go," was my quiet response. " I shall ask the Emperor 
to send you Hartwig, to be near you. He will watch 
over your safety until my return." 

" Ah ! his alertness is simply raarv^ellous," she 
declared. " Did you read in the London papers last 
week how cleverly he ran to earth the three men who 
robbed the Volga Kama Bank in Moscow of a quarter 
of a million roubles ? " 

" Yes. I read the account of it. He was twice 
shot at by the men before they were arrested. But he 
seems always to lead a charmed life. While he is at 
your side, I shall certainly entertain no fear." 

" Then 3'ou have really decided to go ? " she said, 
looking at me with brows slightly knit. " I cannot tell 
— I cannot — what I read in those letters after giving 
my word of honour to Marya." 

" I have decided," I said briefly. 

'' I do not hke the thought of your going. Some- 
thing dreadful may happen to 3''ou." 

" I shall be wary — never fear," I assured her with a 
laugh. " I intend to secure the release of Madame 
and Luba — to set right an unjust and outrageous wrong. 
I admire your firm devotion to your friend, but I will 
bring back to you, I hope, her written permission to 
speak and reveal the truth." 

Five minutes later I rose, and we descended to the 


hall, where patient Dmitri was idling over his French 

Then the weather being fine again, we passed out 
together into the autumn sunshine of the Lawns, at 
that hour of the morning agog with well-dressed pro- 
menaders and hundreds of pet dogs. And a few moments 
later we came face to face with Richard Drury, to whom 
she introduced me as " Mr. Cohn Trewinnard, my uncle, 
Mr. Drury." We bowed mutually, and then all three 
of us strolled on together, though he seemed a Uttle 
ill at ease in my presence. 

I had made a firm resolution. In order to learn 
the secret of those letters and to place Her Highness, 
who so honourably refused to break her word, in a 
position to expose the unscrupulous official who was the 
real Oppressor of Russia, I intended to set out on that 
long journey in search of the exile, now, alas ! unknown 
by name, but only by number. 

Drury struck me as a rather good fellow, and no 
doubt a gentleman. We halted together, and, when 
near the pier, he raised his hat and left us. 

Before leaving Brighton I had j^et much to do. I 
was not altogether satisfied concerning the young man, 
my object being to try and learn for myself something 
more tangible regarding him. 

" Well,'' she asked, when he had gone, " what is j'our 
verdict. Uncle Cohn ? " 

" Favourable," I repHed, whereat she smiled in 

An hour later I succeeded in obtaining a short confi- 
dential chat with the hall-porter of the Royal York 
Hotel, whom I found quite ready to assist me. As I 
had suspected, Dmitri had failed and formed utterly 
wrong conclusions, because of his lack of fluent EngUsh. 
It is alwa^^s extremely difficult for a foreigner to obtain 
confidential information in England. 


The hall-porter, however, told me that their visitor 
was well known to them, and had frequently stayed 
there for several months at a time. He had, he believed, 
formerly lived with his invalid mother at Eastbourne. 
But the lady had died, and he had then gone to hve 
in bachelor chambers in London. From the bureau 
of the hotel he obtained the address, scribbled on a bit 
of paper — an address in Albemarle Street, Piccadilly, 
to which letters were sometimes re-directed. 

" And he has a friend — a doctor — hasn't he ? " I 
asked the man. 

" Oh, yes, sir. You mean Doctor Ingram. He 
was down here with him the other day." 

Having obtained all the information I could, I 
telegraphed to Hartwig at the Savoy Hotel, asking 
him to make inquiries at Albemarle Street and then to 
come to Brighton immediately, for I dared not leave 
until I could place my little madcap charge in safe 
hands. I knew not into what mischief she might get 
so soon as my back was turned. 

That afternoon we strolled together across the 
Lawns, and presently sat down to listen to the mihtary 

She looked extremely neat in her dead-black gown, 
which, by its cut and material, bore the unmistakable 
cachet of the Rue de la Paix, and as we passed up and 
down I saw many a head turned in her direction in 
admiration of her remarkable beauty. Little did that 
crowd of seaside idlers dream that this extremely prett}^ 
girl in black who was so much of a mystery to everv^body 
was a member of the great Imperial House of Russia. 
She was believed to be Miss Gottorp, whose father 
had been German and her mother English, both of 
whom were recently dead. 

Seeing her so often walking with me, everyone, 
of course, put me down as the lucky man to whom 


she was engaged to be married, and I have Uttie doubt 
that many a young man envied me. How strange is 
the world ! 

Wlien in a tantaUzing mood she often referred to 
that popular behef, and that afternoon, while we rested 
upon two of the green chairs set apart from the others 
on the Lawn, she said : 

"I'm quite sure that everybody in Hove is convinced 
that I am to be Mrs. Trewinnard ; " and then, referring 
to her Enghsh maid, she added : " Davey has heard it 
half a dozen times already." 

I laughed merrily, saving : 

" Well, that's only to be expected, I suppose. But 
what about Drury — eh ? " 

" They don't see verv^ much of Dick. We only 
meet at night," she laughed, poking the grass with 
her sunshade. 

" And that you really must not do in future," I said 

" Then I can go about with him in the daytime — 
eh ? " she asked, looking up imploringly into my face. 

" My dear child," I said, " though I do not approve 
of it, yet how can I debar you from any little flirtation, 
even though the Emperor would, I know, be extremely 
angry if it came to his ears ? " 

" But it w^on't. I'm sure it won't, Uncle Cohn, 
through you. You are such a funny old dear." 

" Well," I said reluctantly, " for my own part I would 
much prefer that you invited your gentleman friend to 
the house, where Miss West could at least play propriet3^ 
But onh' now and then — for recollect one fact always, 
that you and he can never marry, however fond you may 
be of each other. It is that one single fact which causes 
me pain." 

Her hard gaze was fixed upon the broad expanse 
of blue sea before her. I saw how grave she had 


suddenly become, and that in her great dark eyes stood 
unshed tears. 

Her chest heaved slowly and fell. She was filled with 
emotion which she bravely repressed. 

" Yes," she managed to murmur in a low whisper. 
" It is too cruel. Because " 

" Because what ? " I asked, in a sympathetic voice, 
bending towards her. 

" Ah, don't ask me. Uncle Colin 1 " she said bitterly, 
her welling eyes still fixed blankly upon the sea. " It 
is cruel because — because I love Dick," she whispered 
in open confession. 

" My httle friend," I said, " I s\Tnpathize with you 
very deeply. It is, I admit, a very bitter truth which 
I have been compelled to point out. For that very 
reason I have been so much against your friendship 
with young men. Drury is in ignorance of your true 
identity. He beheves you to be plain Miss Gottorp. 
But when I tell him the truth " 

"Ah, no!'' she cried. "You will not tell him — 
you won't — will you ? Promise me," she urged. " I 
must, I know, one day find a way of breaking the bond 
of love which exists between us. WTien — when — that — 
time — comes — then we must part. But he must never 
know that I have deceived him — he must never know 
that the reason we cannot be more than mere friends 
is on account of my Imperial birth. No," she added 
bitterly, " even though I love Dick so dearly and he 
loves me devotedly, I shall be compelled to do something 
purposely in order that his love for me may die." Then, 
sighing deeply, my dainty httle companion implored: 
" You wlU therefore promise me. Uncle Colin, that you 
win never — never, under any circumstances, breathe a 
word to him of who I reaUy am ? " 

I took her trembling hand for a second and gave her 
my promise. 


I confess I felt the deepest sympathy for her, and 
told her so frankly and openly as I sat there taking 
leave of her, for that veiy evening I intended to leave 
Brighton and catch the night mail from Charing Cross 
direct for Moscow. 

She said but little, but when we had returned to 
Brunswick Square and I stood with her at the window 
of the big drawing-room, she was unable to control 
her emotions further and burst into a flood of bitter 

In tenderness I placed my hand upon her shoulder, 
endeavouring to console her. Alas ! I fear my words 
were stilted and very unconvincing. What "could I 
say, v*^hen all the world over royal birth is a bar to love 
and happiness, and marriages in Imperial and Royal 
circles are, for the most part, loveless, unholy unions. 
The Grand Duchess or the royal Princess loves just as 
ardently and devotedly as does the free and flirting 
work-girl or the tea-and-tennis girl of the middle classes. 
Alas ! however, the heart of the Highness is not her own, 
but at the disposal of the family council, which discusses 
her marriage as a purely business proposition, and sells 
her, too frequently, to the highest bidder. 

The poor girl, crushed by the hopeless bitterness 
of the situation, declared with a sob : 

"To be born in the purple, as the outside world calls 
it, is, alas ! to be born to unhappiness." 

I remained there a full half -hour, until she grew calm 
again. Never in all the years I had known her — ever 
since she was a girl — had I seen her give way to such a 
paroxysm of despair. Usually she was so bright, 
buoyant and light-hearted. But that afternoon she 
had utterly broken down and been overcome by blank 

" You are young, Natalia," I said, with deep sym-- 
pathy. " Enjoy your life to-day, and do not endeavour 


to- meet the troubles of the future. As long as you re- 
main here and are known as Miss Gottorp, so long may 
your friendship with young Drury be maintained. Live 
for the present — do not anticipate the future." 

I said this because I knew^ that Time is the greatest 
healer of broken hearts. 

But she only shook her head very sadly, without 

The black marble clock on the mantelshelf chimed 
six, and I recollected that Hart wig had wired that he 
would meet me at the " Metropole " at that hour. My 
train was due to leave for London at seven. I had al- 
ready bidden Miss West adieu. So I took Natalia's 
hand, and pressing it warmly, wished her farewell, 
promising to regularly report by telegraph m}^ progress 
across Siberia, as far as possible. 

She struggled to her feet wath an effort, and looking 
full into my face said in a voice choked by emotion : 

" Good-bye, Uncle Colin, I am sorry I cannot betray 
Marya's secret. You are doing this in order to save two 
innocent women from the horrors of a living tomb in 
the Siberian snow^s — to demand that justice shall be 
done. Go. And may God in His great mercy take you 
under His protection." 

What I replied I can scarcely tell. My heart was too 
full for words. All I know is that a few moments later 
I turned out of the great wide square, where the rooks 
were cawing in the liigh trees, and hurried along the wide 
promenade, where the red sun was setting behind me 
in the sea. 

Hartwig I found at the " Metropole " awaiting me. 
He related how he had called at the fiat in Albemarle 
Street, and, by a judicious tip to the young valet he 
found there, had learnt that Mr. Richard Drury v/as the 
son of old Sir Richard Drurs', knight, the great ship- 
builder of Greenock, who had built a number of cruisers 


•for the Na\^\ He was a self-made man, who commenced 
life as a fitter's labourer in a ship -builder's yard up at 
Craigendoran on the Clyde — a bluff, hearty man whose 
generosity was well known throughout the kingdom. 

" Young Richard, it seems," Hartwig went on, " after 
leaving Oxford became a director of the company, and 
though apparently leading a life of leisure, yet he takes 
quite an active part in the direction of the London office 
of the firm in Westminster." 

He expressed the strongest disapproval when I. told 
him of my intention to leave for Siberia and instructed 
him to remain there and to take the Grand Duchess 
under his protection until he received definite orders 
from the Emperor. 

" I certainly don't like the idea of your going to 
Siberia alone, Mr. Trewinnard," he declared. " Markoff 
will know the instant you start, and I fear that — well, 
that something ma}' happen." 

"It is just as likely to happen here in Brighton, 
Hartwig, as in Russia," I replied. 

" Well," he said, shrugging his shoulders, " all 
I advise is that you exercise the very greatest care. 
Why not take my assistant, Petrakoff ? I will give him 
secret orders to join you at the frontier at Ekaterinburg 
— and nobody will know. It will be best for you to 
have company on that long sledge journey." 

'' If I want him I w411 telegraph to you from Peters- 
burg," was my reply. 

" You will want him," he said, " depend upon it. 
If 3'ou go alone to Siberia, Mr. Trewinnard," he added 
very earnestly, " then depend upon it you will go to 
your grave ! " 




*' And pray, Trewinnard, why are you so extremely 
desirous of following this woman into exile and speaking 
with her ? " inquired the Emperor in French, as I sat 
with him, a week later, in a small, dismal, tapestried 
room in the old Castle of Berezov, the Imperial hunting- 
box on the edge of the Pinsk Marshes, in the Government 
of Minsk. 

Dressed in a rough shooting-suit of drab Scotch 
tweed, he sat upon the edge of the 'table smoking 
a cigarette after a hard day alter wild boar. 

I had driven since dawn from the wayside station 
of Olevsk, three hundred miles south of Moscow, where 
I had arrived tired and famished from my long night 
and day journey of a week from Brighton. 

On arrival in Moscow I had learnt that His Majesty 
was hunting at Berezov', and a telegram prefixed by 
the word " Bathildis," had at once been replied to by 
a command to audience. Hence I was there, and had 
placed my appeal before him. 

He was much puzzled. In his eyes Madame de 
Rosen was a dangerous revolutionist who had conspired 
to kill him, therefore he regarded with entire disfavour 
my petition to be allowed to see her. There was 
annoyance written upon his strong features, and by the 
expression in his eyes I saw that he was entirely averse 
to granting my request. 

" I am anxious, Sire, to see her upon a purely private 
matter. She was a personal friend," I replied. 

" So you told me some time ago, I recollect," he 
remarked, twisting his cigarette between his fingers. 
" But Markoff has reported that both she and her 


daughter are highly dangerous to the security of the 
State. He was speaking of them only the other day." 

I bit my lip fiercely. 

" Perhaps he may be misinformed," I said coldly. 
" As far as I am aware — and I know both the lady and 
her daughter Luba intimately — they are most loyal 
subjects of Your Majesty." 

" Tut," he laughed. " The evidence put before 
me was that they actually financed the attempt in the 
Nevski. I had a narrow escape, Trewinnard — a very 
narrov/ one," he added. " And if you were in my 
place how would you, I wonder, treat those scoundrels 
who attempted to kill you — eh ? " 

" I have no knowledge of the true facts, Sire," I 
replied. " All I petition Your Majesty is that I may be 
granted an Imperial permit for the post-horses, and a 
personal order from yourself to see and speak with the 

He shrugged his shoulders, and thrust his hands 
deeply in his breeches pockets. 

" You do not tell me the reason you wish to see 
her," he said with a frown of displeasure. 

" Upon a purely private matter," I said. " To 
ask her a question concerning a very dear friend. I 
beg that Your Majesty wiU not refuse me this request," 
I added, deeply in earnest. 

'' It is a long journey, Trewinnard. I believe she has 
been sent beyond Yakutsk," he remarked. " But, 
tell me, were you a very intimate friend of this woman ? 
What do you actually know of her ? " 

" AH I know of her," I rephed, " is that she is suffering 
a great wrong, Your Majesty. She is in possession of 
certain information which closely concerns a friend. 
Hence my determination to try, if possible, to amend 

" What — you yourself desire to make amends— eh ? " 


" Not exactly that, Sire," I replied. " I wish to 
learn the truth concerning — well, concerning a purely 
private matter. I think that Your Majesty is convinced 
of my loyalty." 

" Of course I am, Trewinnard," was his quick reply. 
" You have rendered me many important personal 
services, not the least being your kindness in looking 
after the welfare of that hare-brained little flirt Tattie. 
By the way, how is she ? As much a tomboy as ever, 
I suppose ? " And his big, strong face relaxed into a 
humorous smile at thought of the girl who, at her own 
request, had been banished from Court. 

" She is greatly improving," I assured him, with a 
laugh. " She and Miss West are quite comfortable, 
and I believe enjoying themselves immensely. Her 
Highness loves England." 

" And so do I," he sighed. " I only wish I could 
go to London oftener. It is to be regretted that my 
recent visits there have not exactly found favour with 
the Council of Ministers." Then, after a long pause, 
he said : " Well, I suppose I must not refuse this 
request of yours, Trewinnard. But I fear you will 
find your winter journey an extremely uncomfortable 
one. WTien you are back, come direct to me. I would 
hke to hear the result of your observations. Let me 
see ? Besides the permit to use the post-horses, you 
will require an order to sjieak with the prisoner, Marya 
de Rosen, alone, and an order to the Governor of Tomsk, 
who has the register which will show to which settlement 
she has been deported." 

My heart leaped within me, for at first I had feared 

" As Your Majesty pleases," was my reply, and I 
added my warmest thanks. 

" m wTite them out now," he said ; and, turning, 
he seated himself at the little escritoire in the corner 


of the small, old-world room and commenced to scribble 
those Imperial decrees which no one within the Russian 
Empire would dare to disobey. 

While he did so I stood gazing out of the small, 
deep-set double windows across a fiat dismal landscape, 
brown with the tints^ of autumn — the wide and weedy 
moat which surrounded the castle, the stretch of grazing- 
iand and then a belt of dense forest on the skyline — 
the Imperial game preser\^es. 

That silent old room, dull, faded and sombre, was just 
the same as it had been when Catherine the Great 
had feted her favourite Potemkin, the man who for 
years ruled Russia and who fought so valiantly against 
the Turks. There, in that verv^ room, the Treaty of 
Jassy, wliich gave Russia the littoral between the Bug 
and the Dniester, had been signed by Catherine in 
1792, and again in that room the Tzar Alexander I. 
had received the nevv's of Napoleon's retreat from Moscow. 

At that small buhl table whereat the Emperor was 
now wTiting out my permits the Tzar Nicholas had 
signed the decree taking away the Polish constitution, 
and, years later, he had written the final orders to his 
ill-fated army lighting against the British in the Crimea. 

Somewhere in the stone corridor outside could be 
heard the m.easured tramp of the sentry, but that, and 
the rapid scratching of the Emperor's pen, were the 
only sounds which broke the quiet. 

At last he rose and handed me three sheets of foolscap 
bearing the Imperial arms — the orders which I sought. 

I took them with thanks, but after a moment's 
hesitation I ventured to add : 

" I wonder if I might request of Your Majesty a 
further favour ? " 

" W^'eU," he asked with a smile, " what is it ? " 

" That my journey to Siberia should be kept a secret 
from the police ? " 


" Eh — what ? " he asked quickly, looking at me 
strangely. " You do not wish the police to know. 
Why ? There is to be no attempted escape, surely ? " 

" I give Your Majesty my word that Madame de 
Rosen will not attempt to escape," I said. " I will, 
indeed, make myself responsible for her. The fact 
is that I know I have enemies among the Secret Police ; 
hence I wish them to remain in entire ignorance of my 

'' Enemies ! " he echoed. " Who are they ? Tell 
me, and I will quickly turn them into your friends," 
he said. ^ 

" Alas, Sire, I do not exactly know their identity," 
was my reply. 

" Very well," he replied at last, selecting another 
cigarette from the big golden box upon the table, " I 
will say nothing — if you so desire. But, remember, 
vou have made yourself responsible for the woman." 

"I willingly accept the responsibiUty," I replied. 
" But, Your»Majesty, there is another matter. I would 
suggest that Hartwig be detailed to remain with Her 
Highness the Grand Duchess NataUa at Brighton until 
my return. He is there at present, awaiting Your 
Majesty's orders." 

At my words he rang a bell, and Calitzine, his private 
secretary, appeared, bowing. 

" Send a telegram at once to Hartwig. Where is 
he ? " he asked, turning to me. 

" At the Hotel Metropole, Brighton," I said. 

" Telegraph to him in cipher that I order him to 
remain with Natalia until further orders." 

" Very well, Your Majesty," replied the trusted 
official, bowing. 

" And another thing," exclaimed the Emperor. 
" Telegraph, also in cipher, to all Governors of Siberian 
provinces that Mr. Colin Trewinnard, of London, is 


our guest during his journey across Siberia, and is to 
be treated as such by all authorities." 

" But pardon me, Your Majesty," I ventured to 
interrupt, " would not that make it plain to those 
persons in Petersburg of whom I spoke a moment ago." 

" Ah ! I forgot," said the Emperor. " Write the 
telegram, and send a confidential courier with it to 
Tiumen, across the Siberian frontier. He will despatch 
it from there, and it ^^"ill then only go over the Asiatic 

"I fear, Your Ma jest}', that a courier could not 
reach Omsk under six or seven days, travelling in- 
cessantly," remarked the secretan^'. 

" In seven daj's will be sufficient time. Both 
messages are confidential." 

And he dismissed Calitzine with a wave of his hand, 
the secretary' backing out of the presence of his Imperial 

Wlien the door had closed the taU, muscular man 
before me placed his hands behind his back and slowly 
paced the room, saying : 

" Well, Tre\\dnnard, I must wdsh you a safe journey. 
If you find yourself in any difficulty, communicate 
direct with m.e. I must admit that I can't quite under- 
stand the object of this rather quixotic joume\' of 
yours — to see a female prisoner. I strongh- suspect 
that you are in love with her — eh ? " and he srniled 

" No, Sire," I rephed, " I am not. On m.y return 
I hope to be able to show Your Majesty that I have 
been actuated b}- motives of humanity and justice 
— I hope, indeed, perhaps even to receive Your Majesty's 

" Ah ! 3'-ou are too mysterious for me," he laughed. 
" Are you leaving at once ? Or wiU you remain here, 
in the castle, until to-morrow ? " 


" I am greatly honoured and appreciate Your 
Majesty's hospitality," I said. " But I have horses 
ready, and I am driving back to the railway at Olevsk 

" Very well, then/' he said with a smile. " Good- 
bye, and be back again in Petersburg as soon as ever 
you can." 

And he stretched forth his big sinewy hand and 
gave me such a hearty grip that I was compelled to 

I v/as backing towards the door, when it opened and 
the chamberlain Polivanoff, standing upon the threshold, 
announced : 

" General Markoff begs audience of Your Majesty." 

" Ah ! Let him come in," the Emperor replied, 

The next moment I found myself face to face with 
the man whom I knew to be Nataha's worst enemy 
and mine — that bloated, grey-faced man in military 
uniform, through whose instrumentality no fewer than 
ten thousand persons were annually being exiled to 
the Siberian wastes. 

We met just beyond the threshold. 

" Ah ! my dear M'sieur Trewinnard ! " he cried, 
raising his grey brows in evident surprise at meeting 
me there. " I thought you were in England. And 
how is your interesting young charge ? " 

" She is very well, I beUeve," was my cold reply. 

I passed on, while he, crossing the threshold into 
the Imperial presence, bowed low, cringing before the 
monarch whom he daily terrorized, and yet who believed 
him to be the guardian of the dynasty. 

" Ah ! I am so glad you have come, Markoff ! " 
I heard the Emperor exclaim as he entered. " I have 
several pressing matters to discuss with you." 

I passed the two sentries, who presented arms, 



and followed Colonel Polivanoff along the corridor, 
full of gravest apprehension. 

Ill fortune had dogged m}^ footsteps. Markoff had 
seen me there. He would naturally inquire of the 
Emperor the reason of my audience. 

His Majesty might tell him. 

If so, what then ? 



The day had been grey and dispiriting, the open wind- 
swept landscape a great hmitless expanse of newly- 
fallen snow of dazzhng whiteness — the same cheerless 
wintry tundra over which I had been travelling by sledge 
for the past four wearv* weeks to that everlasting jingle 
of hamess-bells. 

My companion, the police-agent Petrakoff, a smart, 
alert young man, wrapped to the tip of his nose in 
reindeer furs, was asleep by my side ; and I, too, had 
been dozing, worn out b}' that fifteen hundred miles of 
road since lea\Txig the railway at Ekaterinburg. 

Suddenly I was awakened by Vasilli, our yamshick, 
a burl3'^ bearded, unkempt rufhan in shabb}^ furs, who, 
pointing with his whip to the grey far-off horizon, 
shouted : 

" Tomsk ! Tomsk ! Look, Excellency ! " 

Straining my tired eyes, I discerned upon the far 
skyline a quantity of low, snow-covered, wood-built 
houses, from which rose the pointed cupolas of several 

Yonder was the enxi of the first stage of my long 
journey. So I awoke Petrakoff, and for the next 
half-hour we sat with eyes fixed eagerly upon our 
goal, where we hoped to revel in the luxury of a hotel 


after a month of those filthy stancias or povarnias, 
the vermin-infested rests for travellers on the Great 
Post Road of Siberia. 

The first sod of the great Trans-Siberian railway 
had already been cut by the Tzarevitch at Tchelia- 
byisk, but no portion of the line was at that time 
complete. Therefore all traffic across Asia, both 
travellers and merchandise, including the tea caravans 
from China, passed along that great highway, the 
longest in the world. 

Six weeks had elapsed since I had left the Emperor's 
presence, and I had accomplished by rail and road a 
distance of two thousand four hundred miles. 

Since I had left the railwa^^ at Ekaterinburg I had 
only rested for a single night on two occasions, at 
Tinmen and at Tobolsk. 

At the former place I made my first acquaintance 
^'ith the inhuman exile system, for moored in the 
river Obi I saw several of those enormous floating 
gaols, in which the victims of Russia's true oppressor 
were transported en route to the penal settlements 
of the Far East — great double-decked barges, three 
hundred feet long, with a lower hold below the main 
deck. Along two-thirds of the barge's length ran an 
iron cage, reaching from the lower to the upper deck- 
cover, and having the appearance of a great two-storied 
tiger's cage. Eight of them were moored alongside 
the landing-stage. Five of them were crowded by 
wretched prisoners, each barge containing from four 
to five hundred persons of both sexes and the Cossack 
guards — a terrible sight indeed. 

Provided as I was with an Imperial permit, and a 
doubly-stamped road-passport that directed all keepers 
of post-stations to provide me with the mail horses, 
and give me the right of way on the Post Road, I haci 
set forth again after a day's rest towards Tobolsk. 


The first snow had fallen on the third da}^ after 
leaving Tinmen, and the country, covered by its white 
mantle, presented always a dreary aspect, rendered 
drearier and more dispiriting by the gangs of wretched 
exiles which we constant!}' overtook. 

Men, women, and children in companies from a 
hundred to three hundred, having left the barges, were 
marching forvv^ard to that far-off bourne whence none 
would ever return. They, indeed, presented a woeful 
spectacle, m.ostly of thei:riminal classes, all their heads 
being half, or clean-shaven. The majority of the men 
were in chains, and man}- were linked together. Not a 
few of the women marched among the men as prisoners, 
while the rest trudged along into voluntar>^ exile, holding 
the hands of their husbands, brothers, lovers or children. 
Some of the sick, aged and youn^ were in springless 
carts, but all the others toiled onward through the snow 
hke droves of cattle, bent to the icy blast, a grey-clad, 
silent crowd, guarded by a dozen Cossacks, with an 
officer taking his ease in a tarantass in the rear. 

Once we met a family of Jews — husband, wife and 
two children — in a tarantass, with a Cossack with 
bayonet fixed alongside. We stopped to change horses 
with them, as we were then midway between post- 
stations. The man, a bright, intelhgent, middle-aged 
fellow, addressed us in French, and said he had been a 
wealthy fur merchant in Nijni Novgorod, but was 
exiled to the Yenisei country simply because he was a 
Jew. His eyes w^ere clouded with regret at the bitter 
consciousness of his captivity. Four thousand of his 
townsmen had, he said, emigrated to England and 
America, and then pointing to his pretty, dehcate wife 
and two chubby children, the tears rolled down his 
cheeks, as he faltered out : " Siberie ! " Poor fellow ! 
That word had all the import of a hell to many — many 
more than him. 


The distance between relays on the Great Post Road 
was, we found, from sixteen to thirty versts, and the 
speed of fresh horses about ten versts an hour. 

Vasilh, the ugly bearded yamshick' who had lost one 
eye, we had engaged in Tinmen, and he had contracted 
to drive me during the whole of my journey. He was 
a sullen fellow, v/ho said little, but on finding that I 
was travelling with an Imperial permit, his chief delight 
was to hustle up the master of each post-station and 
threaten to report to the Governor of the province if I, 
the Excellency, were kept waiting for a single instant. 

Usually, changing operations at the stations occupied 
anything from forty minutes to two hours, according 
to the temper or trickishness of the post-horse keeper 
and his grooms, for the\' were about the meanest set 
of knaves and rogues on the face of Asia. Yet sight of 
my permit caused them all to tremble and cringe and 
hustle, and I certainly could not complain of any 
undue delay. 

We had set out in a tarantass from Tinmen — the 
town from which the Imperial courier had despatched 
the order to the various Governors — but as soon as the 
snow came I. purchased a big sledge, and in this we 
managed to travel with far greater comfort over the 
snow than by cart over the deeply rutted road. 

None can know the terrible monotony of Siberian 
travel save those who have endured it. 

Nowadays one can cover Siberia from the frontier 
to far Vladivostock in fifteen days in a luxurious draw- 
ing-room car, \\ith restaurant and sleeping-berth, a 
bath-room and a piano, the line running for the most 
part near the Old Post Road. But leave the railway 
and strike north or south, and the same terrible grey- 
ness and monotony will grip your senses and depress 
you as perhaps no other journey in the world can do. 

It was dusk when at last we sped, our runners hissing 



over the frozen snow, into the wood-built town of 
Tomsk, and ahghted at the Hotel Million, a dismal 
place with corridors long and dark, and bedroom doors 
fastened by big iron padlocks and hasps ! The full- 
bearded proprietor wandered along with an enormous 
bunch of keys, opening the doors and exhibiting his 
uninviting apartments ; and at first I actually believed 
that Vasilli had mistaken my order and driven to 
a Siberian prison instead of conducting me to a 

Upstairs, however, the rooms were much better. But 
there were no washing arrangements whatever, or 
mattresses or bedding ; for every traveller in Siberia is 
expected to carry his own pillows and bedclothes. 
Here, how^ever, we put up and ate our evening meal in 
true Siberian style — a single tough beefsteak — simply 
that and nothing more. 

Afterwards I drove through the snowy, unlighted 
streets to the Governor's palace, a long, log-built place, 
and on giving my name to the Cossack sentry at the 
door he at once saluted. Apparent^ he had been warned 
of my coming. So had the servants, for with much 
bowing and grave ceremony I was shown along a corridor 
lit by petroleum lamps to a small reception-room at 
the farther end. 

The furniture was of the cheap, gaudy character 
which in England would speak mutely of the hire- 
system. But it had, no doubt, come from Petersburg 
at enormous cost of transit, and was perhaps the best 
and miost luxurious furniture — it was covered with red 
embossed velvet — in all Siberia. 

Scarcely was I afforded time to look round the close, 
over-heated place with its treble windows, when 
General Tschemaieff, a rather short, white-haired, 
pleasant-featured man in a green uniform, with the 
Cross of St. Anne at his throat, entered, greeting me 


warmly and expressing a hope that I had had a pleasant 

" I received word of your coming, Mr. Trewinnard, 
some weeks ago," His Excellency said rather pompously. 
"I am commanded to treat you as a guest of my 
Imperial Master. Therefore you will, I hope, be my 
guest here in the palace." 

I told him that I already had quarters at the Hotel 
Milhon, whereupon he laughed, saying : 

" I fear that you will find it very rough and uncouth 
after hotels in Petersburg or in 3^our own London." 

I rephed that as a constant traveller, and one who 
had knocked about in all corners of the world, I was 
used to roughing it. Then, after he had offered me a 
cigarette, and a lean manservant, who, I afterwards 
learned, was an ex-convict, had brought us each a glass 
of champagne, I explained to him the object of my visit. 

" Madame Mary a de Rosen and her daughter Luba 
de Rosen, pohticals," repeated His Excellency, as though 
speaking to himself. " Of course, sir, as you know, 
all prisoners, both criminal or poHtical, pass through 
the for\varding-prison here. It is myself who decides 
to which settlement they shall be sent. But — well, 
there are so many that the Chief of the Police puts the 
lists before me and I sign them away to Nerchinsk, to 
Yakutsk, to Sredne Kolimsk, to Verkhoiansk, to Udinsk, 
or vvherever it may be. Their names, I fear, I never 
notice. I have sent some politicals recently up to 
Parotovsk, fifty versts north of Yakutsk. The two 
prisoners msLy have been among them." 

" Here, I suppose, they lose their identity, do they 
not ? " I asked, looking at the white-headed official 
who governed that great Asiatic province. He was 
sixty-five, he had told me, and had served twenty- 
seven years in Siberia. 

" Yes. Only across the road in the archives of the 


fon^^arding-prison are their names kept. W'Tien they 
leave Tomsk they are known in future — until their 
death, indeed — only by a registered number." 

Then, rising, the white-headed Governor rang a bell, 
and on his secretary, a young Cossack captain, entering, 
he gave him certain instructions to go across to the 
prison and obtain the registers of prisoners during the 
pre\dous month. 

Afterwards, he stretched himself out in his long chair, 
smoking and asking me questions concerning myself 
and the object of my journey. 

As soon as he learned that I was a British diplomat 
and personal friend of His Majesty, his manner became 
much more cordial, and he declared himself ready to 
do everything in his power to bring my mission to a 
successful issue. 

Presently the secretary returned, carrying two large 
registers and accompanied by a tall, dark-bearded man 
in uniform and wearing a decoration, who I learned 
was the governor of the prison. 

He saluted His Excellency on entering the room, and 
said in Russian : 

" Your Excellenc}' is, I believe, inquiring regarding 
the prisoner Marya de Rosen, widow, of Petersburg, 
deported by administrative order ? " 

" Yes," said the General. " Wliere has she been sent, 
and what is her number ? " 

" She was the woman about whom we received 
special instructions from the Ministry of Police in 
Petersburg, Your Excellency will remember," replied 
the prison governor. 

" Special instructions ! " I echoed, interrupting. 
" WTiat were they ? " 

But His Excellency, after a moment's reflection, said : 

" Ah ! I now remember ! Of course. There was 
a note upon the papers in General Markoff's own 


handwriting to the effect that she was a dangerous 

" Yes. She was one of those whom your Excel- 
lency sent to Parotovsk," remarked the prison governor. 

" To Parotovsk ! " I echoed. " That is beyond 
Yakutsk — two thousand five hundred miles from here 
— far in the north, and one of the most dreaded of all 
the settlements ! " 

" All penal settlements are dreaded, I fear," re- 
marked His Excellency, blowing the cigarette-smoke 
from his hps. Then, turning to the prison governor, 
he inquired under what number the prisoner was 

On referring to one of the books the officer declared 
Madame to be now known as " Number 14956 " and 
her daughter as " Number 14957." 

I took a note of the numbers, protesting to His 
Excellency : 

" But to compel delicate ladies to walk that great 
distance in the winter is surel}^ a sentence of death ! " 

" x\nd if the politicals die, the State has fewer responsi- 
bihties," he remarked. " As you see, we have received 
notification from Petersburg that your lady friend was a 
dangerous person. Now, of dangerous persons we take 
\'ery special care." Then, turning to the prison governor, 
he asked : " How did they go ? " 

" By taranta'ss. Excellency. The}^ were in too weak 
a state to walk, especially the elder prisoner. I doubt, 
indeed, if ever they will reach Parotovsk." 

" And if they don't it will perhaps be the better 
for both of them," His Excellency remarked with a 
sigh, rising and casting his cigarette-end into the pan 
of the round iron stove. He was a stiff, unbending 
official and ruled the province with a ruthless hand, 
but at h?art he often evinced sympathy with the female 


" Were they very ill ? " I inquired quickly of the 
prison governor. 

" They were ver^^ exhausted and complained to me 
of ill-treatment by their guards," he answered. " But 
if we investigated every complaint we should have more 
than sufficient to do." 

" How long ago did they leave here ? " 

" About two months," was the man's reply. "The 
elder prisoner implored to be sent to the Trans-Baikal, 
where the climate is not so rigorous as in the north, and 
this would probably have been done had it not been 
for the special memorandum of His Excellency General 

" Then he suggested her being sent to the Yakutsk 
settlement — in fact, to her death — eh ? " I asked. 
. His Excellency replied : 

" That seems so. The prisoners have already been 
on their way two months, at first by tarantass and 
now, no doubt, by sled. There were fifteen others, 
nine men and six women^-all dangerous politicals, 
I see," he added, glancing at the order which he 
had signed and was now produced by the prison 
governor. "If it is your intention to travel and 
overtake them, then I fear your journey will be 

" Why ? " I asked. 

" Because I expect that long before you reach them 
their dead bodies will have been left upon the road," 
replied His Excellency. " Politicals who die here in 
Siberia, and especially those marked as dangerous, are 
not mourned, I assure you." 

"There was, if I remember aright, a telegram to 
Your Excelleficy from General Markoff regarding 
prisoners of that name only three days ago," remarked 
the Cossack captain. " It inquired whether you knew 
if Madame de Rosen were still alive." 


" Ah, yes, I remember. And I replied that I had no 
knowledge," the General said. 

I was silent. My heart stood still. 

By the fact of that telegraphic inquiry I knew that 
^larkoff was, as I feared, aware of my journey. He 
would most certainly prevent my overtaking her — or, 
if not, he would, no doubt, contrive to seal her 
lips by death ere I could reach her. 



I RESOLVED to push forward in all haste and at all 
hazards. I lost no time. 

With only forty-eight hours' stay at the wretched 
Hotel Million in Tomsk we went forth again, our faces 
set ever eastward on that wide, straight road which 
first runs direct for a hundred miles to Marinsk, a poor, 
log-built place with a dirty verminous post-station and 
an old post-master who, when I presented my Imperial 
permit, sank upon his knees before me. Fortunately 
the mail was tw^o days behind me, hence, at every 
stancia I was able to obtain the best horses, though 
it seemed part of Vasilli's creed to curse and grumble at 

With the snow falling continuously our journey was 
not so ra|)id as it had been to Tomsk. Winter had 
now set in with a vengeance, although it still wanted a 
few days to the English Christmas. Yet the journey 
from Marinsk to Krasnoyarsk, two hundred miles, was 
one of wondrous beauty. It was cold, horribly cold. 
Often I sat beside the sleepy Petrakofi cramped and 
shivering, even in my furs. 

But those deep, dark woods, with their little glimpses 
of blue sk-y ; the dashing and jingling along under the 


low-reaching arms of the evergreen trees, league after 
league of the forest bowed down to the very earth and 
in places prostrated with its white weight of snow, the 
weird ride over hill and mountain, skirting ravine and 
precipice, the breaks along and across the numerous 
watercourses, over rude bridges or along deep gullies 
where rough wooden guards protect the sleds from 
disaster — with this quick succession of scener}', wild 
and strange, was I kept constantly awake and charmed. 

At the stancias we met the travelling merchants 
from the Far East and from China with their long train 
of goods hauled in sleds or packed on the backs of 
horses. Five pood, we found, was the regulation load, 
and all packages were put up in drums bound with 
raw hide and so strapped that they could easily be 
transported by the pack-horse, which carried half a 
load on either side of a saddle-tree prepared for the 

But those stancias were filthy, overcrowded, evil- 
smelling places, wherein one laid in one's sleeping-bags 
upcn a bench amid a crowd of unwashed, vodka-drink- 
ing humanity in damp, noxious sheep-skins. 

Fortunately the moon was at that moment nearly 
full, and often at night I went forth alone to smoke, 
sometimes with the snowy plain stretched on every 
hand about me, and at others with gigantic peaks 
lifting their hoar\7 heads far into the blue night vault 
of heaven ; silent, frigid, white. Ah ! what grandeur ! 
I rejoiced that it was night, when I could smoke and 
ponder. So cold and still was it that those snowy 
summits, bathed in the silver radiance of the Siberian 
moon, filled me with awe such as I had never before 

Yes, those were wonderful nights which will live 
for ever in my memory — nights when my thoughts 
wandered far away to the gay promenade at Kove, 


wondering how fared the Httle madcap, and whether 
her peril were real or only imaginary. 

Ever obsessed by the knowledge that Markoft was 
aware of my journey, and would endeavour to prevent 
its successful issue, I existed in constant anxiety and 
dread lest some prearranged disaster might befall 
Madame de Rosen ere I could reach her. 

Siberia is, alas ! the country where, as the exiles say : 
" God is nigh, and the Tzar is far away." 

Thus, after three weeks more of hard travelling, I 
passed through the big, straggling, snow-covered town 
of Krasnoyarsk, and arrived at the wretchedly dirty 
stancia of Tulunovsk, where the road to Yakutsk — 
distant nearly two thousand miles — branches to the 
north from the Great Post Road, up the desolate valley 
of the Lena. 

We arrived in Tulunovsk in the afternoon, and, 
having sent a telegram to Her Highness from Kras- 
noyarsk, eight days before, I was delighted to receive a 
charming little message assuring me that she was quite 
well and wishing me a continuance of good fortune on 
my journey. 

Since I had left Tomsk no traveller had overtaken 
me. At Tulunovsk we found a party of politicals, 
about sixty men and women, in the roughly-con- 
structed prison rest-house, being permitted a few days' 
respite upon their long and wear}' march. 

Already they had been sLx months on the road, and 
were in a terrible condition, almost in rags, and most 
of them so weak that death would no doubt have been 

And these poor creatures were nearly all of them 
victims of the bogus plots of His Excellency General 

To the Cossack captain in charge of the convoy I 
made m3'self known, and after taking tea with him I 


was permitted to go among the party and chat with 

One tall, thin-faced man, whose hair was prema- 
turely grey, begged me to send a message back to his 
.wife in Tver. He spoke French well, and told me his 
name was Epatchieff, and that he had been a doctor 
in practice in the town of Tver, between Moscow and 

" I am entirely ignorant of the reason I was arrested, 
m'sieur," he declared, hitching his ragged coat about 
him. " I have not committed any crime, or even be- 
longed to any secret society. Perhaps the only offence 
was my marr\dng the woman I loved. Who knows ? " 
and the sad-eyed man, whose life held more of sorrow 
in it than most men, went on to say : 

" I had been attending the little daughter of the 
local chief of the police for a week, but she had re- 
covered so far that I did not consider a further visit 
was necessary. One morning, six months ago, I 
was surprised, to receive a visit from the police 
officer's Cossack, who demanded my presence at 
once at the house of his master, as the child had been 
seized with another attack. I told him I would go 
after breakfast as the matter was serious. But the 
Cossack insisted that I should go at once, so I agreed 
and went forth. Outside, the Cossack told me that 
I must first go to the poHce ofhce, and, of course, I 
went wonderingly, never dreaming for a moment 
that anything was wrong. So I was ushered into 
the office, where the chief of poHce told me that I 
was a prisoner. ' A body of exiles are ready to start 
for Siberia,' said the heartless brute, ' and you will 
go with them.' I laughed — it was a good joke, but 
the chief of police assured me that it was a solemn fact. 
I was completely dumbfounded. I begged for a delay 
in my transportation. Why was I deprived of my 


liberty' Who was my accuser ? What was the accusa- 
t\on ' 'But I got no answer save ' administrative order. 
•■I begged to be allowed to revisit my house under 
guard, to procure necessary articles of clothmg-to say 
Well to my young wife. But the scoundrel denied 
me everything. I waited in anguish, but they placed 
Z tn sTlitar^ confinement to await the departure of 
Se convoy, and in six hours I was on my way here-to 

^'Sf^ctufsfrhVp'oor feUow was half crazed What 
would become of his young wife-what would she thmk 
of him' A thousand thoughts and suspicions racked 
his mind, and he had already lived through an age of 
torture, as his whitening head plamly showed. _ 

Kt my suggestion he wrote a letter to his wite in- 
fonning her of his fate, and using my authority as guest 
of His Imperial Majesty I took it, and, m due course, 
nosted it back to Russia. 

P Not until three years after^vards did I learn the tragic 
sequel. The poor young lady received my letter, and 
S quickly as she could set out to jom him m his exJe. 
Wi?h womanly wit she managed to apprise h,m of her 
coming and a light broke m upon his grief. He had 
be^sent to Irkutsk, and daily, hourly he looked and 
longed "or her. Yet just as he knew she must arrive, 

he was suddenly sent far away to the most northerly 

Arctic settlement of Sredne Kolimsk. 
The poor young lady, fiUed with sweet s>-mpatny and 

expectation, hoping to find him in Irkutsk, arrived 

there a fortnight to'o late. I=«=^g-^ '^^^.^^"^te'worsi 
having traveUed over four thousand miles of the worst 
countfy on the face of the world, she learned the crue 
news. Still three thousand miles distant ! But =he set 
out to find him. Alas ! however, it was too much for 
her She lost her reason, raved for a little while under 
restraint and died at the roadside. 


Is it any wonder that there were in Russia real revo- 
lutionists, revolting not against their Tzar, but against 
the inhuman system of the camarilla ? 

Petrakoff and I spent a sleepless night in that rat- 
eaten post-house where the food was bad, and our beds 
consisted only of a wooden bench. We had as com- 
panions half a dozen drivers, who ha.d come with a 
big tea-caravan from China, ragged, unwashed, uncouth 
fellows in evil-smelling furs. 

Indeed the air was so thick and intolerable that at 
two o'clock in the morning I took my sleeping-bag out- 
side and lay in the sled, in preference to staying in that 
vermin -infested hut. 

Next morning, the twenty-second of January, I 
signed the post-master's book as soon as it grew light, 
and with three fresh horses approved of by Vasilli, we 
were away, leaving the Great Post Road and striking 
north along the Lena. 

From that moment we entered, an uninhabited 
country, the snowy dreariness of which was indescrib- 
able, and as day succeeded day and we pushed further 
north the climate became more rigorous, until it was 
no unusual thing to have great icicles hanging from one's 

One day, a week after leaving Tulunovsk, we passed 
through an entirely deserted village of low-built huts. 
I asked Vasilli the reason that no one lived there. 

"This is a bad place, Excellency," was the fellow's 
reply. " All the people died of small-pox six months 

And so we went on and on, and ever on vard. Some- 
times we would travel the whole twenty-four hours 
rather than rest in those horrible post-houses, and on 
such jou ne3^s we often covered one hundred and twenty 
to one hundred and fort}^ versts, changing horses every 
twenty to thirty versts. 


We covered seven hundred and fifty miles to Dubrovsk 
in sixteen days, and here, at the post-house, we met a 
party of Cossacks coming south after taking a convoy 
of prisoners to Oiekminsk — half-wa}'- between Dubrovsk 
and Yakutsk — and handing them over to the guard 
sent south to meet them. 

While taking our evening tea I chatted with the 
Cossack captain, a big, muscular giant in knee-boots 
who sat with his legs outstretched on the dirty floor, 
leaning his back against the high brick stove. 

I was making inquiries regarding the prisoners he had 
recently brought up, whereupon he said : 

" They were a batch of politicals from Tomsk. Poor 
devils, they've been sent to Parotovsk — and there's 
small-pox there. I suppose General Tschemaieff has 
sent them there on purpose that they shall become 
infected and die. Pohticals are often sent into an in- 
fected settlement." 

" To Parotovsk ! " I gasped, for it suddenly occured ' 
to me that the woman of whom I was in search might 
be of that party ! 

And then I breathlessly inquired if Madame de Rosen, 
Political No. 14956, had been with them. 

" She and her daughter were ill, and were allowed a 
sled," I added. 

" There were two ladies, Excellency, mother and 
daughter. One was about forty, and the other about 
eighteen. They came from Petersburg, and were, I 
believe, well connected and moved in the best society." 

" You do not know their names ? " I asked 

" Unfortunately, no," was his reply. " Only the 
numbers. I believe the lady's number was that which 
3'ou mentioned. She was registered, however, as a 
dangerous person." 

" No doubt the same I " I cried. " How is she ? " 


" When they left Olekminsk she was very weak and 
ill," he replied. '" Indeed, I recollect remarking to my 
lieutenant that I feared she would never reach Yakutsk." 

" How far are they ahead of us ? " I inquired eagerly. 

The bearded man reflected for some minutes, making 
mental calculations. " They left Olekminsk a fort- 
night ago, therefore by this they should be nearing 

" And how long will it take me to reach Yakutsk ? " 
I asked. 

He again made a calculation and at last replied : 

" By travelling hard, Excellency, you should reach 
Yakutsk, I think, in twenty-five to twenty-seven days. 
It would be impossible before, I fear, owing to the heavy 
snow-drifts and the bad state of the roads." 

" Twenty-seven da3^s ! " I echoed. " And before I 
can reach there the ladies will aJready be inmates of 
that infected settlement of Parotovsk — ^the place to 
which they have been sent to sicken and die ! " 

" She was marked as ' dangerous,' Excellency. She 
would therefore be sent north at once, without a doubt. 
Persons marked as ' dangerous ' are never permitted 
to remain in Yakutsk." 

Could I reach her in time ? Could I save her ? 



From that day and through twenty- two other dark, 
weary days of the black frosts of mid-winter, We tra- 
velled onward — ever onward. Sometimes we crossed 
the limitless snow-covered tundra, sometimes we went 
down into the deep valley of the frozen Lena river, 
changing horses every thirty versts and signing the 
post-horse keeper's greasy road-book. 


At every stage I produced my Imperial permit, and at 
almost every station the ignorant peasant who kept it 
fell upon his knees in deep obeisance to the guest of the 
great Tzar. 

We were now, however, off the main road, for this 
highway to the far-off Arctic settlements, used almost 
solely by the convict convoys, ran for a thousand miles 
through a practically uninhabited country, the only 
sign of civihzation being the never-ending telegraph- 
line which we followed, and the lonely post-stations 
half-buried in the snow. 

Ah ! those long, anxious days of icy blasts and whirl- 
ing snow blizzards. My companion and I, wrapped to our 
eyes in furs, sat side by side often dozing for hours, our 
ears tired of that irritating jingle of the sled-bells, our 
limbs cramped and benumbed, and often ravenously 
hungry, for the rough fare at the post-house was very 
frequently uneatable. 

For six dark days we met not a single soul upon the 
road, save a party of Cossacks coming south. But from 
them I could obtain no news of the last batch of " politi- 
cals " who had travelled north, and whom we were 
following in such hot haste. 

Again I telegraphed to Hart wig in Brighton, telling 
him of my whereabouts, and obtaining a reply from him 
that Her Highness was still well and sent me her best 

That in itself was reassuring. 

Hard travel and. bad food told, I think, upon both of 
us. Petrakoff dearly wished himself back in his beloved 
Petersburg again. Yet our one-eyed half-Tartar driver 
seemed quite unconscious of either cold or fatigue. The 
strain of driving so continuously — sometimes for twenty 
hours out of the twenty-four — must have been terrible. 
But he was ever imperious in his dealings at post- 
stations, ever loud in his commands to the cringing 


owners of those log-built huts to bring out their best 
trio of horses, ever yelhng to the fur-clad grooms not 
to keep His Excellency waiting on pain of terrible 

Thus through those short, dark winter days, and 
often through the long, steely nights, ever following 
those countless telegraph-poles, we went on — ever on- 
ward — until we found ourselves in a small wretched 
little place of log-built houses called Olekminsk. Upon 
my travelling map, as indeed upon ever^^ map of Siberia, 
it is represented in capitals as an important place. So 
I expected to find at least a town — perhaps even a hotel. 
Instead, I discovered it to be a mere wTetched hamlet, 
with a post-house, and -a wood-built prison for the 
reception of " poHticals." 

We arrived at midnight. In the common room of 
the post-house, around which earth and snow had been 
banked to keep out the cold, was a high brick stove, 
and around the walls benches whereon a dozen way- 
farers like ourselves were wrapped in their evil-smelling 
furs, and sleeping. The odour as I entered the place 
was foetid ; the dirt indescribable. One shagg}- peasant, 
in heavy top-boots and fur coat, had imbibed too much 
vodka, and had become hilarious, whereat one of the 
sleepers, suddenly awakened, threw a top-boot at him 
across the room, narrowl}' missing my head. 

The post-house keeper, as soon as he saw my permit, 
sent a man to the local chief of poHce, a stout, middle- 
aged man, who appeared on the scene in his hastily- 
donned uniform and who invited me to his house close 
by. There I questioned him regarding the political 
prisoners, " Numbers 14956 and 14957.'' 

Ha\dng read my permits — at which he was visibly 
impressed when he saw the signature of the Emperor 
himself — he hastened to obtain his register. Presently 
he said : 


" The two ladies you mention have passed through 
this prison, Excellency. I see a note that both are 
dangerous ' poHticals/ and that the elder lady was 
rather weak. Judging from the time when they left, 
they are, I should say, already in Yakutsk — or even 

" From what is she suffering ? " I asked eagerlj-. 

" Ah ! Excellency, I cannot tell that," was his reply. 
"All I know is that the captain of Cossacks who came 
down from Yakutsk to meet the convoy considered 
that being a dangerous political, she was sufticiently 
well to walk'with the others. So she has gone on foot 
the remainder of the journey. She arrived here in a 

" On foot ! " I echoed. " But she is ill — dpng, I was 

The chief of police shrugged his shoulders and said 
with a sigh : 

" I fear. Excellency, that the lady was somewhat 
unfortunate. That particular captain is not a very 
humane person — particularly where a dangerous 
prisoner is concerned." 

" Then to be marked as ' dangerous ' means that the 
prisoner is to },be treated with brutahty — eh ? " I 
cried. " Is that Russian justice ? " 

" We do not administer justice here in Siberia, Ex- 
cellency," was the man's quiet reply. " They do that 
in Petersburg." 

" But surely it is a scandal to put a sick v.oman on 
the road and compel her to walk four hundred miles in 
this weather," I cried angrily. 

" Alas ! That is not my affair," replied the man. 
" I am merely chief of police of this district and governor 
of the etape. The captain o^^ Cossacks " has entire 
charge of the prisoners on their joumey.";-^- 

What he had told me maddened nie. In^all that I 


heard I could plainly detect the sinister hand of General 

Indeed; when I carefully questioned, this official, I 
felt convinced that the captain in question had received 
instructions direct from Petersburg regarding Madame 
de Rosen. The chief of police admitted to me that to 
the papers concerning the prisoners there had been at- 
tached a special memorandum from Petersburg con- 
cerning Madame and her daughter. 

I smoked a cigarette with him and drank a cup of tea 
— China tea served with lemon. Then I was shown to 
a rather poorly-furnished but clean bedroom on the 
ground-floor, where I turned in. 

But no sleep came to my eyes. Such hard travelling 
through all those weeks had shattered my nerves. 

While the bright northern moon streamed in through 
the uncurtained window, I lay on my back, pondering. 
I reflected upon aU the past, the terrible fate of Madame 
and her daughter, the strange secret she evidently held, 
and the peril of the Emperor himself, so helpless in the 
hands of that circle of unscrupulous sycophants, and, 
further, of my little madcap friend, so prone to flirtation, 
the irrepressible Grand Duchess Natalia. 

I reviewed all the exciting events of those many 
months which had elapsed since the last Court ball of 
the season at Petersburg — events which I have at- 
tempted to set down in the foregoing pages — and I was 
held in fear that my long journey might be in vain — 
that ere I could catch up with the poor wretched woman 
who, though ill, had been compelled to perform that 
last and most arduous stage of the journey through the 
snow, she would, alas ! be no longer alive. The ven- 
geance of her enemy Markoff would have fallen upon 

A sense of indescribable oppression, combined with 
the hot closeness of the room, stifled me. For hours I 


lay awake, the moonlight falling full upon my bed. At 
last, however, I must have dropped oft' to sleep, fagged 
out after twenty hours of those jingling bells and hissing 
of the sled-runners over the frozen snow. 

A sense of coldness awakened me, and on opening 
my eyes I saw, to my surprise, though the room was 
practically in darkness with only the reflected light of 
the snow, that the small treble window stood open. It 
had certainly been tightly closed when I had entered 

I raised my eyes to pe^ into the darkness, for the 
atmosphere, which when I had gone to sleep was stifling 
on account of the iron stove, was now at zero. Suddenly 
I caught sight of a dark figure moving noiselessly near 
where I lay. A thief had entered by the wdndow ! He 
seemed to be searching the pockets of my coat which 
I had flung carelessly upon a chair. Surely he was a 
daring thief to thus enter the house of the chief of 
police ! But in Siberia there are many escaped con- 
victs roaming about the woods. They are called 
*' cuckoos," on account of their increase in the spring 
and their return to the prisons when starved out in 

A " cuckoo " is always a criminal and always des- 
perate. He must have money and food, and he dare 
not go near a village, as there is a price on his head. 
Therefore, he will not hesitate to murder a lonely 
traveller if by so doing he thinks he can secure a pass- 
port which will permit him to leave Siberia and re-enter 
European Russia, back to freedom. Some Siberian 
roads are in summer infested with such gentry, but 
winter always drives them back to the towns, and 
consequently into prison again. Only a very few man- 
age to survive the rigours of the black frosts of the 
Siberian winter. 

Rather more amused than alarmed, I lay watching 


the dark figure engaged in rifling m}- pockets. I was 
contemplating the best method by which to secure 
him and hand him over to the mercies of my host. A 
sudden thought struck me. Unfortunately, being 
guest in the house of the chief of pohce I had left my 
revolver in the sled. I never slept at a post-house 
without it. But that night I was unarmed. 

Those moments of watching seemed hours. The man, 
whoever he was, was tall and slim, though of course 
I could not see his face. I held my breath. He was 
securing m}' papers and m}' money 1 Yet he did it all 
so very leisurely that I could not help admiring his 
pluck and confounded coolness. 

I hesitated a few seconds and then at last I summoned 
courage to act. I resolved to suddenly spring up and 
throw myself upon him, so that he would be prevented 
from jumping out of the window with my property. 

But while I was thus making up my mind how to 
act. the mysterious man suddenly left the chair where 
my coat had been Mng, and turning, came straight 
towards me, advancing slowly on tip-toe. Apparently 
he was not desirous of rousing me. 

Once again I waited my opportunity to spring upon 
hira, for he fortunately was not yet aware that I was 
awake and watching him. 

I held m\' breath, l3'ing perfectly motionless, for, 
advancing to me, he bent over as though to make 
absolutely certain that I slept. I tried to distinguish 
his face, but in the shadow that was impossible. 

I could hear my own heart beating. 

He seemed to be peering down at me, as though 
in curiosity, and I was wondering what could be his 
intentions, now that he had secured both my money 
and my papers. 

Suddeiily ere I could anticipate his intention, his 
hand was uplifted, ajid falling, struck me a heavy 


blow in the side of the neck just beneath the left 

Instantly I felt a sharp burning pain and a sensa- 
tion as of the running of warm liquid over my shoulders. 

Then I knew that the fluid was blood ! 

I had been stabbed in the side of the throat ' 

I shrieked, and tried to spring fiercely upon my 
assailant, but he was too quick for me. 

My eager hand grasped his arm, but he v/renched 
himself free, and next instant had vaulted lightly 
through the open window and had disappeared. 

And as for myself, I gave vent to a loud shriek for 
help, and then sank inertly back, next second losing 

The man had escaped with all my precious permits, 
signed by the Emperor, as well as my money ! 

My long journey was now most certainly a futile 
one. Without those Imperial permits I was utterly 
helpless. I should not, indeed, be allowed to speak 
with Madame de Rosen, even though I succeeded in 
finding her ahve. 

My loss was irreparable, for it had put an end to my 
self-imposed mission. 

Such were the thoughts which ran through my over- 
strung brain at the moment when the blackness of 
insensibility fell upon me, blotting out both knowledge 
of the present and apprehension of the future. 



When again I opened my eyes it was to find a lamp 
being held close to my face, and a man who appar- 
ently possessed a knowledge of surgery — a political 


exile from Moscow, who had been a doctor, I after- 
wards discovered — was carefully bathing my wound. 

Beside him stood two Cossacks and the chief of pohce 
himself. All were greatly agitated that an attack 
should have been made upon a man who was guest to 
His Imperial Majesty, their Master. 

To my host's question I described in a few words 
what had occurred, and bewailed the loss of m}- papers 
and my money. 

" They are not lost," he replied. " Fortunately the 
sentr\^ outside heard your scream, and seeing the 
intruder emerge from the window and run, he raised 
his rifle and shot him." 

" Killed him ? " I asked. 

" Of course. He was an utter stranger in Olekminsk. 
Presently we shaU discover who and what he is. Here 
are your papers," he added, handing back the precious 
documents to me. " For the present the man's body 
lies outside. Afterwards 3'OU shaU see if you recognize 
him. From his passport his name w^ould appear to be 
Gabrillo Passhin. Do you know anyone of that name ? ' ' 

'' Nobody," I replied, my brain awhirl with the 
crowded events of the past half-hour. 

I suppose it was another half-hour before the doctor, 
a grey-bearded, prematurely-aged man, finished bandag- 
ing my wound and strapping my left arm across my 
chest. Then, assisted by my host, I rose and went 
forth, led hy men v\-ith lanterns, to where, in the snow, 
as he had fallen beneath the sentry's bullet, lay the 
v.-Quld-be assassin. 

They held their lanterns against the white, dead 
face, but I did not recognize him. He seemed to be 
about thirty-live, ^^dth thin, irregular features and shaven 
chin. He was respectably dressed, while his hands were 
soft, betraying no evidence of manual labour. The 
features were perfectly calm, for death had been 


instantaneous, the bullet striking at the back of the 

Near where he lay a small pool of blood showed 
dark against the snow. 

While we were examining the body, Petrakoff, whom 
I had sent for from the post-house, arrived in hot haste, 
and became filled with alarm when he saw my neck and 
arm enveloped in bandages. 

In a few words I told him what had occurred, and 
then advancing, he bent and looked upon my assailant's 
face. He remained bent there for quite a couple of 
minutes. Then, straightening himself, he asked : 

" Does liis passport give his name as Ivan Miiller — 
or GabriUo Passhin ? " 

" You know him ! " I gasped. " Who is he ? " 

" Well," he replied, " I happen to have rather good 
reason to know him. In Odessa he was chief of a des- 
perate gang of bank-note forgers, who, after eluding us 
for two years, were at last arrested — six of them in 
Moscow. The seventh, who called himself MiiUer, 
escaped to Germany. A year ago he was bold enough 
to return to Petersburg, where I recognized him one 
day close to the Nicholas station and followed him to 
the house where he lodged. I entered there alone, 
very foolishly perhaps, whereupon he drev/ a revolver 
and fired point-blank at me. The bullet struck me in 
the right shoulder, but assistance was forthcoming, 
and he was arrested. His sentence about eleven months 
ago was confinement in the Fortress of Peter and Paul 
for fifteen years. So he must have escaped. Ah ! he 
was one of the most daring, astute and desperate 
criminals in all Russia. At his trial he spat at the judge, 
and contemptuously declared that his friends would 
not allow him to be confined for very long." 

"It seems that they have not," I remarked thoughtfully. 

" The fact of his having dared to break into the 


house of the chief of police shows in itself the character 
of the man," Petrakoff exclaimed. " I m^'self had a 
most narrow escape when I arrested him. But what 
was he doing here — in Siberia ? " 

" He may have been exiled here and escaped," 
remarked the chief of police, as we were returning to 
the bureau at the side of the house. 

"I hardly think that. Excellency," interrupted a 
Cossack sergeant, w^ho had just returned from the 
post-station, where he had been making inquiries. " We 
have just arrested a yamshick, who arrived with the 
assassin an hour after midnight. Here he is." 

A moment later a big, red-faced, shaggy, vodka- 
drinking driver in ragged furs was brought into the 
bureau betvreen tv/o Cossacks, and at once interrogated 
by the chief of police. 

First he was tak:en out to view the body still lying 
in the snow ; then brought back into the police-office , 
a bare, wooden room, lit by a sirfgle petroleum lamp, 
and bearing on its walls posters of numbers of official 
regulations, each headed by the big black double eagle. 

" Now," asked the chief of poHce, assuming an air 
of great severity, " where do you come from ? " 

" Krasnoyarsk, Excellency," answered the man 

" What do you know of the individual you have 
just seen dead — eh ? " 

" ^\li I know of him, Excellency, is that he contracted 
with me to drive him to Yakutsk." 

" Why ? Was he quite alone ? " 

" Yes, Excellenc}*. He made me hurry, dri\ing 
night and day sometimes, for he was overtaking a 

" What friend ? " 

" Ah ! I do not know. Only at each stancia, or 
povamia, he inquired if an EngUshraan had passed. 


Therefore I conc'uded that it was an Englishman he 
was following." 

Petrakoff, hearing the man's words, looked meaning^/ 
towards me. 

" He was alone, you say ? " I inquired. " Had he 
any friends in Krasnoyarsk, do \'ou know ? " 

" None that I know of. He had journeyed al; the 
way from Petersburg, and he paid me well, because he 
was travelling so rapidly. We heard of the Englishman 
at a number of stancias, and have gradually overtaken 
him, until we found, on arrival here, that the friend he 
sought had only come in an hour before us. I heard 
the post-house keeper tell him so." 

" Then he was following this mysterious English- 
man — eh ? " asked the chief of police, who had seated 
himself at his table with some officiousness before com- 
mencing the inquir}'. 

" No doubt he was, Excellency. One day he told 
me that if he did not overtake the Englishman on his 
way to Yakutsk, he would remain and wait for his 

Then I took a couple of steps forward to the official's 
table and said : 

" I fear that I must be the Enghshman whom, tliis 
mysterious person has followed in such hot haste for 
nearly sLx thousand miles." 

" So it seems. But why ? " asked the chief of police. 
" I can see no reason why that escaped criminal should 
follow you with such sinister intent. You don't know 
him ? " 

" Not in the least. I have never even heard his 
name before." 

" He was well supplied with' money, it seems," 
remarked my host. " This wallet found upon him 
contains over ten thousand roubles in notes, together 
with a credit upon the branch of the National Bank 


in Yakutsk for a further thirty thousand." And he 
showed me a well-worn leather pocket-book, evidently 
of German manufacture. 

Both Petrakoff and m\'self knew only too well that 
this daring criminal had been released from that cold 
citadel in the Neva ancj given money, promised a free 
pardon in all probability, if he followed me and at all 
hazards prevented me from obtaining an interview with 
the poor, innocent, suffering woman whose dastardly 
enemy had marked her " dangerous." 

I was about to tell the whole scandalous truth, but 
on second thought I saw that no good could be served. 
Therefore I held my tongue, and allowed the officials 
— for the starosti of the \dllage had now arrived— =^ 
regard the affair as a complete myster3^ 

I had narrowly escaped death, the doctor had declared , 
and my friend, the chief of police of Olekminsk, kept the 
imfortunate yamshick under arrest while he reported 
the extraordinary affair to Yakutsk. He also con- 
fiscated the mone}^ found upon the man who had made 
that daring attack upon me. 

I could see he was secretly delighted that the criminal 
had been killed. \\Tiat, I wondered, would have hap- 
pened to him if I, a guest of His Imperial Majest\^ had 
lost my life beneath his roof ? 

The" same thought apparently crossed his mind, for 
in those white v.dnter da3'5 I was compelled to remain 
his guest, being unfit for travel on account of my wound, 
he many times referred to the narrow escape I had 

Petrakoff, on his part, related to us some astounding 
stories of the man, who had been knowTi to the coining 
and note-forging fratemit}^ as Miiller, alias Passhin, 
the man who had at least three murders to his record. 

And this man was Markdff's hireling ! What, I 
wondered, was the actual price placed upon my head ? 


For a whole week — seven weaty days — I was com- 
pelled to remain there in Olekmihsk. I wanted to 
push forward, but the exiled doctor would not allow it. 

There was a small and wretched colony of pohtical 
exiles in the village, and I visited them. Fancy a poet 
and litterateur, one of those rare Russian souls whose 
wonder-working effusions must ultimately enlighten 
and enfranchise the people — a Turgenieff — immured for 
life in that snowy desert. Yet in Olekminsk there was 
such a one. He lived in a wretched one-roomed, log- 
built cabin within a stone's-throw of the house wherein 
I so nearly lost my life — a tall, alert, deep-eyed man, 
whom even the savagery of hisi surroundings could not 
dispirit or cool the ardour of his wonderful genius. 
From his prolific pen flowed a ceaseless stream of learning 
and of light ; he wrote and wrote, and m this wTiting 
forgot his wTongs and sorrows. The authorities — the 
local officials who wield such autocratic authority in 
those parts — were overjoyed to see him in this mood. 
They fostered his rich whim, they encouraged him to 
write his books, the manuscripts of which they seized and 
sold in Petersburg and Berlin, Paris and London. 

Yet he Hved in a smoky, wooden hovel, banked up 
by snow, and wrote his books upon a rough wooden 
bench, which was polished at the spot over which his 
forearm travelled with his pen. 

No exile, I found, was allowed to cany on any 
business, teach in a school, till the soil, labour at a 
trade, practise a profession, or engage in any work 
otherwise than through a master. If I wanted any 
service, an exile would sometimes come and offer to 
perform it, but I w^ould have to pay his master, upon 
whose bounty he must depend for remuneration. 

The doctor, named Kasharofski, who bandaged me 
was not a revolutionist, or at all intemperate in his 
political views. He was one of the thousands of Markoff '5 


victims sacrificed in order that the Chief of Secret PoHce 
should remain in favour with the- Emperor. Therefore 
he was not in favour with man}^ of his fellow-exiles, 
who held pronounced revolutionary views. He was on 
pleasant visiting teims with the chief of police, and I 
often went to his wretched, carpetless hut, around which 
were sleeping bunks, and spent many an hour with 
him listening to the cruel, inhuman WTong from which 
he had suffered at the hands of that marvellously alert 
organization, the Secret Pohce. 

One gre}', snowy afternoon, while I sat with him 
in his bare w^ooden hut, one room with benches around 
for beds, and he smoked a cigar I had given him, he 
burst forth angrily against the exile system, declaring : 

" The whole government is a monstrous mistake. 
Russia has been striWng in vain to populate Siberia 
for a thousand years, but she wdll never succeed so long 
as she continues in her present pohcy of converting 
the land into a vast penitentiary wherein the prisoners 
are prevented from making an honest hvehhood, and 
so driven, if criminals, to a further commission of crime. 
Beyond doubt there are rogues of the very worst type 
in Russia and Siberia, but certainly it is plain that 
their mode of punishment will never tend to elevate or 
reform them ; further, it is utterly impossible that 
Siberia, under its present system of government, should 
ever be populated or improved, as have been the penal 
colonies of the French and English." 

His words were, alas ! too true. What I had seen 
of Siberia and its exile system — those terrible prisons 
where men and wom.en were herded together and 
infected with typhoid and smallpox ; those wTetched 
hovels of the political settlement, and those chained 
gangs of despairing prisoners on the roads — had indeed 
filled me wdth horror. The condition of those exiles, 
both socially and morally, was utterly appalling. 


The day after my conver5ation with Doctor Kas- 
harofski, after a week of irritating delay, in which every 
moment I feared that I was losing valuable time, I 
set forth again upon my last stage, the journey of four 
hundred miles of snow-covered tundra and forests of 
cheerless silver birch to Yakutsk. 

Did Madame de Rosen still hve, or had Markoff 
taken good care that, even though I escaped the 
assassin's knife, I should never meet her again in the 
flesh ? 

Aye, that was the one important question. And my 
heart beat quickly as, bidding farewell to my hospit- 
able friend, the chief of poHce, our three shaggy horses 
plunged jingling away into the snow. 



The farther north we pushed, the worse becam-j the 
roads, and snow fell daily. Only by following the line 
of telegraph and the verst-posts could we find the road, 
which sometimes ran along the Lena valley, and at 
others crossed high hiUs or penetrated deep, gloomy 
forests of dwarfed leafless trees. 

After three days we approached a high mountain 
range, where absolute silence reigned and the snowfall 
was constant and hea\y. The trees were so over- 
burdened with the white weight softly and quietly 
heaped upon them, that many had broken down, com- 
pletely and obstructed the wild road through the forest. 
Vasilli had furnished us with hatchets for this purpose, 
and we were often compelled to stop and hack and 
drag the fallen trees from our path. 

When at last we had gained the top of the mountain 
pass, we at once felt a complete change in the atmosphere. 


Whereas to the south even^thmg was as calm as the quiet 
of death, in front of us a gale was already blowing, and 
instead of trees bowed down and breaking with their 
burden of snow, to the northward of the mountain 
range not a single flake appeared on the shrubbery or 

We had passed from the world of silence to the wild, 
bleak regions of the Arctic bhzzard. All that day we 
toiled through deep snow% the mountain road rugged 
beyond description and the tearing wind icy and howl- 
ing. It blew as though it would never calm. And the 
distance between the two lonely post-houses was one 
hundred and twenty-four English miles. Not a vestige 
of a habitation between. All was a great lone land. 

The frost was intense, and icicles hung from Vasilli's 
beard and from our own moustaches — a black deadly 
cold, rendered the more biting by the wind straight 
from the Polar ice-pack. 

I looked up upon that awful snow-covered road and 
shuddered. Luba and her mother had actually tra- 
versed it on foot. Because they had been marked 
as " dangerous " the Cossack captain had exposed them 
to that terrible suffering, hoping that they would thereby 
die before reaching Yakutsk — in which case he would, 
no doubt, receive a word of commendation from the 

We were now fast approaching the dreaded Arctic 
penal settlements, of which the to\\Ti of Yakutsk was 
the centre, distant over four thousand miles from the 
Russian frontier, ever\^ inch of which we had traversed 
by road. 

Hour by hour, day by day, onward we went, with 
those irritating bells ever jingling in our ears. Petrakoff 
slept, his head sunk wearily upon his breast, but my mind 
was much too agitated for sleep. I had, by good fortune, 
escaped the assassin who had followed me hot-foot 


across Asia, and now I must soon overtake the unfor- 
tunate woman from whose lips I would seek permission 
for Her Highness to speak. 

Pakrovskoe, a mere handful of huts, came in sight 
one day just as the gre}^ light faded. It was the last 
village before our goal — Yakutsk. We changed horses 
and ate some dried fish and rye bread, washed down by 
a cup of weak tea. Then, after half an hour's rest, 
again we went forward into the grey gloom of the snow, 
where on our left at the edge of the plain showed the 
pale yellow streak of the winter afterglow. 

Through that long, interminable night we toiled on 
and ever on in deep snowdrifts. Vasilli ever and anon 
uttering curses in his beard, for the horses we had 
obtained at Pakrovskoe were terrible screws. 

At length, however, just as the first grey of dawn 
appeared on the horizon our driver pointed with his 
whip, cr^dng excitedly : 

" Yakutsk ! Excellency ! Yakutsk ! God be 
thanked for a safe journey ! " 

At first I could see nothing, but presently, straining 
my eyes straight before me, I discerned at the far edge 
of the snow-covered plain several low towers with bulg>' 
spires, and a long line of house roofs silhouetted against 
the faint horizon. 

Petrakoff gazed forth sleepily, and then with a low, 
half-conscious grunt lapsed again into inert slumber. 

But no longer could I close my eyes. I drew my 
furs more closely round me, and sat wdth eyes fixed 
upon my longed-for goal. 

Would success crown my efforts, or had, alas ! poor 
Mar^^a de Rosen succumbed to the brutal treatment 
meted out to her by the Cossack captain. 

After three eager, breathless hours, which seemed 
weeks to me, we at last drove into the long wdde 
thoroughfare which is the principal street of that 



northerly town — a road lined by small, square wooden 
houses, with sloping roofs, each surrounded by its little 
stockade. The town seemed practically deserted, a 
drear>', dismal, silent place, of which half the inhabi- 
tants were exiles or the free children of exiles. The 
remainder were, as I afterwards discovered, free 
Russians — merchants who had emigrated there for the 
advantage of trade, together with a host of Govern- 
ment ofhcials^-Cossack, civil, police, revenue, church, 

Without much difficulty we found the Guestnitsa 
Hotel, a wretched place, verminous and dirty, like ever}' 
other hotel in all Siberia was before the enlightening 
days of the great railroad. Here I estabhshed myself, 
and sent Petrakoft with a note to the Governor-General, 
asking for audience without delay. 

Scarcely had I washed, shaved and made myself 
a trifle presentable — though I fear my unshorn hair 
presented a somewhat shaggy appearance — when the 
agent of police returned with a note from His Excel- 
lency General Vorontzoff, Governor-General of the 
provmce, expressing his regret that owing to being 
compelled to make a mihtary inspection during that 
day he was unable to receive me until five o'clock in 
the evening. 

Thus was I compelled to await His Excellency's 

The fame of Alexander Vorontzoff was well known 
in Petersburg. He was a hard, hide-bound bureaucrat, 
without a spark of pity or of human feehng. And for 
that reason the camarilla surrounding His Majesty the 
Emperor had managed to obtain his appointment as 
Governor-General of Yakutsk. He was the catspaw of 
that half-dozen astute Ministers who terrorized the 
Emperor and his Court, and by so doing feathered 
their ov/n nests. " Pohticals " committed by Markoff 


to his tender mercies were shown little consideration, 
for was not his appointment as Governor-General 
mainly on account of his brutal treatment of offenders 
during his term of office at Tomsk ? 

Hartwig, had, more than once, mentioned this man 
as the most cruel, inhuman official in all Siberia. There- 
fore, being forewarned, I was ready to meet him on his 
own ground. 

Many a man, and many a dehcate woman, trans- 
ported there from Russia, although quite as innocent 
of revolutionary ideas as my friend Madame de Rosen, 
had lived but a few short days on their arrival at the 
prison at Yakutsk, horrible tales of which had even 
hltered through back to Petersburg and Moscow. 

One fact well known was that, two years before, 
when smallpox had broken out at the prison, this 
brutal official caused a whole batch of prisoners to be 
placed in a room where a dozen other prisoners were 
lying in the last stages of that fatal disease, with the 
result that over two hundred exiles became infected, 
and of them one hundred and eighty died without 
receiving the least medical attention. 

Such an action stood to his credit in the bureau 
of the Ministry of the Interior at Petersburg ! He had 
saved the Em^pire the keep of a hundred and eighty 
prisoners — mostly the victims of Markoff and the 
camarilla ! 

WTien at five o'clock I wsls ushered into a big, gloomy 
room, lit by a hundred candles in brass sconces, a 
vulgar, thick-set man in tight-htting, dark green 
uniform, his breast ghttering with decorations, rose to 
greet me in a thick, deep voice. I judged him to be 
nearly sixty, with grey, steely eyes, a bloated face, 
short-cropped grey beard, and very square shoulders. 

He apologized for his absence during the day, and 
after handing me a cigarette invited me to a chair, 



covered with red plush, himself taking one opposite to 

" I have been already notified of your coming," he 
said, speaking through his beard. " They sent me 
word from Petersburg that you were traveUing to 
Yakutsk. I am very delighted to receive you as guest 
of my Imperial Master. In what way can I be of 
service to you ? " 

I treated him with considerable hauteur, as became 
one bearing the order of the Tzar. 

From my pocket I produced the Imperial instruc- 
tions to all Governors of the Asiatic provinces to do my 
bidding. As soon as he saw it his manner changed 
and he became most humble and submissive. 

" I must again apologize for not receiving you — 
for not calling upon you instantly on your arrival, Mr. 
Trewinnard. But, truth to teh, I had for the moment 
forgotten that you were the guest of His Imperial 
Majesty. I had quite overlooked the telegram sent to 
me months ago," he said ; and then he read the other 
permits I produced. " I hope you have had a safe 
journey, and not too uncomfortable," he went on. "I 
travelled 'once from Moscow in winter, and I must 
confess I, although a Russian, found it uncommonly 

I gave him to understand that I had not travelled 
over six thousand miles merely to talk of climatic 

But he strode with swagger across the big, well- 
furnished room, his gay decorations glittering in the 
candle-hght. The treble windows were closed with 
thick, dark green curtains pulled across them. The 
arm-chairs and sofa were leather-covered, and at the 
farther end of the room was a big, littered \\Titing- 
table set near the high stove of glazed brick. 

He was a bachelor, with the reputation of being a 


hard drinker and a confirmed gambler. And under 
the iron hand of this unsympathetic and brutal official 
ten thousand poUtical exiles, scattered all over the 
Arctic province, led an existence to which, in many 
cases, death would have been far preferable. 

Upon the dark green walls of that sombre room — 
a room in which many a wTetched " political " had 
pleaded in vain — was a single picture, a portrait of 
the Emperor, one of those printed by the thousand and 
distributed to every Government office throughout the 
great Empire. His Excellenc}^ General Vorontzoff, as 
representative of the Emperor, hved in considerable 
state wath a large military staff, and Cossack sentries 
posted at all the doors. He was as unapproachable as 
the Tzar himself, probably knowing how hated he was 
among those unfortunates over whom he held the pov/er 
of Hfe and death. For the ordinary man to obtain 
audience of him was wellnigh impossible. 

The exphcit order in His Majesty's own handwriting 
altered things considerabl}^ in my case, and I saw that 
he was greatly puzzled as to who I really could be, and 
why his Master had been so solicitous regarding my 

" I have travelled from Petersbturg, Your Excellency, 
in order to have private interviews with two pohtical 
prisoners who have recently arrived here," I explained 
at last. 

He frowned slightly at mention of the word " pohtical." 

" I understand," he said. " They are friends of 
yours — eh ? " 

. " Yes," I rephed. " And I wish to have interviews 
with the ladies with as httle delay as possible." 

" Ladies — eh ? " he asked, raising his grey eyebrows. 
" WTio are they ? " 

" Their name is de Rosen," I said, " but their exile 
numbers are 14956 and 14957." 


He bent to his writing-table, near which he was at 
that moment standing, and scribbled down the numbers. 

" They arrived recently, you say ? " 

" Yes. And I may tell you in confidence that a 
grave injustice has been done in exiling them. His 
Majesty is about to institute full and searching inquiries 
into the circumstances." 

His bloated face fell. He grew a trifle paler, and 
regarded me with some .concern. 

" I suppose they arrived with the last convoy ? " he 
said refiectivety. " We will quickly see." 

And he rang a bell, in ansvrer to which a smart young 
Cossack officer appeared, saluting. 

To him he handed the shp of paper with the numbers, 
saying in that hard, imperious voice of his : 

" Report at once to me the whereabouts of these 
twO' prisoners. They arri\-ed recently, and I am 
awaiting information." 

The officer again saluted and withdrew. Scarcely 
had he closed the door when another officer, wearing 
his heavy greatcoat flecked with snow, entered and, 
saluting, handed the Governor a paper, saying : 

" The prisoners for Kolimsk are ready to start. 

" How many ? " 

" Two hundred and seven — one hundred and twenty- 
six men, and eighty-one women. Your Excellency." 

Sredne-Kolimsk ! That was the most northerly 
and most dreaded settlement in all the Arctic, still 
distant nearly one thousand miles — the hving tomb 
of so many of Markoff' s victims. 

" Are they outside ? " asked the Governor. To 
which the officer in charge rephed in the affirmative. 

" May I see them ? " I asked. Whereupon my 
request was readily granted. 

But before we went outside General Vorontzoff 


took the list from the Captain's hand and scrawled 
his signature— the signature which sent two hundred 
and seven men and women to the coldest region in the 
world — that frozen boiu-ne whence none ever returned. 

Outside in the dark snowy night the wretched gang, 
in rough, grey, snow-covered clothes, were assembled, 
a dismal gathering of the most hopeless and dejected 
wretches in the world, all of them educated, and the 
majority being members of the professional classes. 
Yet all iiad, by that single stroke of the Governor's pen, 
been consigned to a terrible fate, existence in the filthy 
yaurtas or huts of the half-civihzed Yakuts — an un- 
washed race who live in the same stable as their cows, 
and whose habits are incredibly disgusting. 

That huddled, shivering crowd had already trudged 
over four thousand miles on foot and survived, though 
how many had died on the way would never be told. 
They stood there like driven cattle, inert, silent and 
broken. Hardly a word was spoken, save by the mounted 
Cossack guards, who smoked or joked, several of them 
havmg been drinking vodka freely before leaving. 

The Governor, standing at my side, glanced around 
them, mere shadows on the snow. Then he exclaimed 
with a lev/ laugh, as though amused : 

" Even this fate is too good for such vermin ! Let's 
go inside." 

I followed him in without a word. My heart bled 
for those poor unfortunate creatures, who at that 
moment, at a loud word of command from the Cossack 
captain, moved away into the bleak and stormy night. 

In the cosy warmth of his own room General Voront- 
zoff threw himself into a deep arm-chair and declared 
that I must leave the " Guestnitsa " and become his 
guest, an invitation which I had no inchnation to accept. 
He offered me champagne, which I was compelled out 
of courtesy to drink, and we sat smoking until presently 


the young Cossack officer reappeared, bearing a bundle 
of official papers. 

" Well, where are they ? " inquired the Governor 
quicldy. " How slow3''ou are ! " he added emphatically. 

" The two prisoners in question are still here in 
Yakutsk," was the officer's reply. " They have not 
yet been sent on to Parotovsk." 

" Then I must go to them at once," I cried in eager- 
ness, starting up quickly from my chair. " I must 
speak with them without delay. I demand to do so — 
in the Tzar's name." 

The officer bent and whispered some low words 
into His Excellency's ear ; whereupon the Governor, 
turning to me with a strange expression upon his 
coarse countenance, said in a quiet voice : 

" I much regret, Mr. Trewinnard, but I fear that 
is impossible — quite impossible ! " 



" Impossible ! " I echoed, staring at the all-powerful 
official. " \Miy ? " 

He shrugged his shoulders, slowly flicked the ash 
from his cigarette and glanced at the paper which, 
the officer had handed to him. 

I saw that beneath the candle-light his heavy features 
had changed. The diamond upon his finger flashed 

" My pen and v/riting-pad," he said, addressing 
his aide-de-camp. 

The latter went to the writing-table and handed 
what he required. 

His Excellency rapidly scribbled a few words, then 
tearing off the sheet of paper handed it to me, saying : 


" As \'oii so particularly wish to see them, I suppose 
your request must be granted. Here is an order to the 
prison governor." 

I took it with a word of thanks, and without delay 
put on my heavy fur shuba and accompanied the aide- 
de-camp out into the darkness. He carried a big, old- 
fashioned lantern to guide my footsteps, though the walk 
through the steadily-falling snow was not a long one. 

Presently we came to a series of long, wood-built 
houses, windowless save for some small apertures high 
near the roof, standing behind a high stockade before 
which Cossack sentries, huddled in their greatcoats, 
were pacing, white, snowy figures in the gloom. 

My guide uttered some password, which brought 
two sentries at the door to the salute, and then the 
great gates opened and we entered a big, open space 
which we crossed to the bureau, a large, low room, 
Ut by a single evil-smelling petroleum lamp. Here 
I met a narrow-jawed, deep-eyed man in uniform — 
the prison governor, to whom I presented my permit. 

He called a Cossack gaoler, a big, fur-clad man with a 
jingling bunch of keys at his waist, and I followed him 
out across the courtyard to one of the long wooden sheds, 
the door of which he with difficulty unlocked, unbolted, 
and threw open. 

A hot, stifling breath of crowded humanity met me 
upon the threshold, a foetid odour of dirt, for the place 
was unventilated, and then by the single lam.p high in 
the roof I saw that along each side of the shed were 
inclined plank benches crowded by sleeping or reclining 
women still in their prison clothes, huddled side by side 
with their heads against the wall, their feet to the 
narrow gang^\'ay. 

" Prisoners ! " shouted the gaoler in Russian. " At- 
tention ! Where is one four nine five seven ? " 

There was a silence as I stood upon the threshold. 


" Come," cried the man petulantly. " I want her 

A weak, thin voice, low and trembling, responded, 
and from the gloom' slowly emerged a female figure 
in thick, ill-fitting clothes of grey cloth, unkempt 
and ragged. 

" Move quickly," snapped the gaoler. " Here is 
someone to see you ! " 

"To see me ! " repeated the weak voice slowly. 
Next moment, the light of the lantern revealed my 
face, I suppose, for she dashed forward, crying in 
English : " W^y — you, Mr. Trewinnard ! Ah ! save 
me ! Oh ! save me ! I beg of you." 

And she clung to me, trembling with fear. 

It was the girl Luba de Rosen ! Alas ! so altered 
w^as she, so pale, haggard and prematurely aged that 
I scarcely recognized her. Her appearance was dejected, 
ragged, horrible ! Her fair hair that used to be so 
much admired was now tangled over her eyes, and her 
fine figure hidden by her rough, ill-fitting prison gown, 
which was old, dirty and tattered. I stared at her, 
speechless in horror. 

She was only nineteen. In that smart set in which 
her mother moved her beauty had been much admired. 
Madame de Rosen was the widow of a wealthy Jew 
banker, and on account of her late husband's loans 
to certain high officials to cover their gambling debts, 
all doors had been open to her. I recollected when I 
had last seen Luba, the night before her arrest. She 
had worn a pretty, Paris-made gown of carnation 
chiffon, and was waltzing with a good-looking young 
officer of the Kazan Dragoons. Alas ! what a different 
picture she now presented. 

" Luba ! " I said quieth^ in English, taking her hand 
as she clung to me. " Come outside. I am here to 
speak with you. I want to talk with you alone." 


The gaoler, who had had his orders from the Gover- 
nor, relocked and bolted the door, and taking his lantern, 
withdrew a respectable distance while I stood with 
Luba under the wooden wall of the prison wherein she 
had been confined. 

" I have followed you here," I said, opening my 
capacious fur coat and throwing it around the poor 
shivering girl. " I only arrived to-night. Where 
is your mother ? I must see her at once." 

She was silent. In the darkness I saw that her 
white face was downcast. 

i felt her sobbing as I held her, weak and tearful, 
in my arms. She seemed, poor girl, too overcome at 
meeting me to be able to speak. She tried to articulate 
some words, but they became choked by stifled sobs. 

" Your mother has been very ill, I hear, Luba," 
I said. " Is she better ? " 

But the girl only drew a long sigh and slowly shook 
her head. 

" I — I can't tell you — Mr. Trewinnard ! " she managed 
to exclaim. " It is all too terrible — horrible ! My poor 
mother ! Poor darling ! She — she died this morning ! " 

" Dead ! " I gasped. My heart sank within me. 
The iron entered my soul. 

" Yes. Alas ! " responded the unfortunate girl. " And 
I am left alone — all alone in this awful place ! Ah ! 
Mr. Trewinnard, you do not know — you can never dream 
how much we have suffered since we left Petersburg. 
I would have preferred death a thousand times to this. 
And my poor mother. She is dead — at last she now has 
peace. The Cossacks cannot beat her with their whips 

" Where did she die ? " I asked blankly. 

" In here — in this prison, upon the bench beside 
where I slept. Ah ! " she cried, " I feel now as though 
I shall go mad. I lived only for her sake — to wait 


upon her and try to alleviate her sufferings. Now 
that she has been taken from me I have no other object 
for v/hich to live in this dreary waste of ice and snow. 
In a week X shall be sent on to Parotovsk with the 
others. But I hope before reaching there that God will 
be merciful and allow me to die." 

" No, no ! " I exclaimed, my hand placed tenderly 
upon the poor girl's shoulder. ' ' Banish such thoughts. 
You may be released yet. I am here, striving towards 
that end." 

But she only sliook her head again very mournfully. 
Nobody is released from Siberia. 

As we stood together, my heavy coat wrapped 
about her in order to protect her a little from the 
piercing blast, she told me how, under the fatigue and 
exposure of the journey, her mother had fallen so ill 
that she one day dropped exhausted by the roadside. 
One Cossack officer, finding her unconscious, suggested 
that she should be left there to die, as fully half a dozen 
other dehcate women had been left. But another 
officer of the convoy, a trifle more humane, had her 
placed in a tarantass, and. by that means she had 
travelled as far as Tulunovsk. But the officer m charge 
there had compelled her to again walk, and over that 
last thousand miles of snow she had dragged wearily 
until, ill and worn out, she had arrived in Yakutsk. 

From the moment of her arrival she had scarcely 
spoken. So weak was she, that she could only lie 
upon the bare wooden bench, and was ever begging 
to be allowed to die. And only that morning had 
she peacefully passed away. I had arrived twelve 
hours too late ! 

She had carried her secret to her grave ! 

I heard the terrible story from the girl's lips in 
silence. My long weary journey had been all in vain. 

From the beginning to the end of poor Madame's 


illness no medical man had seen her. From what 
she had suffered no one knew, and certainly nobody- 
cared a jot. She was, in the eyes of the law, a " dan- 
gerous political " who had died on the journey to the 
distant settlement to which she had been banished. 
And how many others, alas ! had succumbed to the 
rigours of that awful journey ! 

I walked with Luba back to the Governor's bureau, 
and in obedience to my demand he gave me a room — 
a bare place with a brick stove, before which the 
poor sad-eyed girl sat with me. 

I saw that the death of her mother had utterly 
crushed her spirit. Transferred from the gaiety and 
luxury of Petersburg, her pretty home and her merry 
circle of friends, away to that wilderness of snov/, with 
brutal Cossacks as guards — men who beat exhausted 
women with whips as one lashes a dog — her brain was 
at last becoming affected. At certain moments she 
seemed very curious in her manner. Her deep blue 
eyes had an unusual intense expression in them — a 
look which I certainly did not like. That keen glittering 
glance was, I knew, precursory to madness. 

Though unkempt and ragged, wearing an old pair 
of men's high boots and a dirty red handkerchief 
tied about her head, her beauty was still remarkable. 
Her pretty mouth was perhaps harder, and it tightened 
at the corners as she related the tragic story of their 
arrest and their subsequent journey. Yet her eyes 
were splendid, and her cheeks were still dimpled as 
they had been when I had so often sat at tea with her 
in her mother's great salon in Petersburg, a room deco- 
rated in white, with rose-du-Barri furniture. 

In tenderness I held her hand as she told me of 
the brutal treatment both she and her fellow-prisoners 
had received at the hands of the Cossacks. 

" Nevermind, Luba," I said with a smile, endeavouring 


to cheer her, " every cloud has its silver lining. 
Your poor mother is dead, and nobody regrets it more 
than myself. I travelled in haste from England in order 
to see her — in order to advise her to reveal to me a certain 
secret vvhich she possessed." 

" A secret ! " said the girl, looking straight into my 
face. " A secret of what ? " 

" Well/' I said slowly, " first, Luba, let me explain 
that, as you well know, I am an old friend of your 
dear mother." 

" I know that, of course," she said. " Poor mother 
has frequently spoken of you during her journey. 
She often used to wonder what you vrould think when 
you heard of our arrest." 

" I knew you were both the innocent victims of General 
Markoff," I said quickly. 

'■ Ah ! then you knew that I " she cried. " How 
did you know ? " 

'■' Because I was well aware that Markoff was your 
mother's bitterest enem}^" I answered. 

" He was. But why ? Do you know that, Mr. 
Tre\^innard ? Can you give me ?ny explanation ? 
It has always been a most complete myster^^ to me. 
Mother always refused to tell me anything." 

I paused. I had hoped that she would know some- 
thing, or at least that she might give me some hint 
which would serve as a clue by which to elucidate the 
mystery of those incriminating letters, now, alas ! 

" Has your mother told you nothing ? " I asked, 
looking earnestly straight in her face. 

" Nothing." 

" Immediately before her arrest she gave to Her 
Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Natalia certain 
letters, asking her to keep them in safety. Are you 
av.are of that ? " 


*' Mother told me so," the girl replied. " She also 
believed that the letters in question must have fallen 
into General Markoff's hands." 

" Why ? " 

" I do not know. She often said so." 

" She believed that the arrest and exile of you both 
was due to the knowledge of what those letters coh- 
tained — eh ? " I asked. 

" I think so." 

" But tell me, Luba," I asked ver}' earnestly, " did 
your mother ever reveal to 3-ou the nature of those 
letters ? I am here to discover tliis — because — well, 
to tell the truth, because your friend the Grand Duchess 
Xataha is in deadly peril." 

" In peril, v/hy ? Where is she ? " 

In a few brief words I told her of XataUa's i'.icog'nita 
at Brighton, and of the attempt that had been made 
to assassinate us both, in order to suppress any know- 
ledge of the^ letters that either of us might have gained. 

" Our <j\vn sad case is on a par with yours," she 
declared thoughtfully at last. " Poor mother was, 
I think, av/are of some secret of General Markoff's. 
Perhaps it was beUeved that she had told me. At 
any rate, we were both arrested and sent here, where 
we should never have any opportunity of using our 

'' You have no idea of its nature, Luba," I asked 
in a low voice, stih deeply in earnest. " I mean you 
have no suspicion of the actual nature of the contents 
of those letters which your mother gave into NataUa's 
cure ? " 

The girl was silent for some time, her e^^es downcast 
in thought. 

At last she rephed : 

*■ It would be untrue to say that I entertain no 
suspicion. But, alas ! I have no conoboration. My 


belief is only based upon what my dear mother so often 
used to repeat to me." 

" And what was that ? " I asked. 

" That she had held the hfe of Russia's oppressor, 
General Markoff, in her hand. That she could have 
crushed and ruined liim as he so justly deserved ; but 
that for motives of humanity she had warned him of 
repeating his dastardly actions, and had long hesitated 
to bring him to ruin and to death." 

" Ah ! the brute. He knew that," I cried. " He 
craftily awaited his opportunity, then he dealt her 
a cowardly blow, by arresting her and sending her 
here, where even in life or in death her lips woiild be 
closed for ever." 



T^^^LVE weeks had elapsed — cold, weary weeks of 
constant sledging over those bleak, snovr'-bound plains, 
westv.^ard, back to civilization. 

On the twenty-seventh of April — I have, alas ! 
cause to remember the date — at six o'clock in the 
evening, I alighted from the train at Brighton, and 
Hartwig came eagerly forward to greet me. 

I had joume3"ed incessantly, avoiding Petersburg 
and coming by Warsaw and Berlin to the Hook of 
Holland,' and that morning had apprised him of my 
arrival in England ; but, I fear, as I emerged from 
the train my appearance must have been somewhat 
travel-worn. True, I had bought some ready-made 
clothes in Berlin — a new overcoat and a new hat. But 
I was horribly conscious that they were ill-fitting, as is 
every man who wears a " ready-to-wear garment " — 
as the tailors call it. 


Yes, I was utterly fagged out after that long and 
fruitless errand, and as I glanced at Hart wig I detected 
in an instant that something unusual had occurred. 

" What's the matter ? " I asked quickly. ' " What 
has happened ? " 

" Ah ! that I unfortunately do not exactly know. 
jVIr. Trewinnard," was his reply in a tone quite unusual 
to him. 

" But what has occurred ? " 

" Disaster," he answered in a low, hoarse voice. 
" Her Highness has mysteriously disappeared ! " 

" Disappeared ! " I gasped, halting and staring at 
him. " How ? With whom ? " 

" How can we tell ? " he asked, with a gesture of despair. 

" Explain," I urged. " Tell me quickl3^ How did 
it happen ? " 

Together we walked slowly out of the station-yard 
down in the direction of King's Road, when he said : 

" Well, the facts are briefly these. Last Monday 
^ — that is five days ago — Her Highness and Miss West 
had been over to Eastbourne by train to see an old 
schoolfellow of the Grand Duchess's, a certain Miss 
Finlay — with whom I have since had an interview. 
They lunched at Mrs. Finlay 's house — one of those new 
ones on the road to Beachy Head — and left, together 
with Miss Finlay, to walk back to the station at half- 
past seven o'clock. Her Highness would not drive, 
but preferred to walk along the Promenade and up 
Terminus Road. When close to the station, Dmitri — 
who accompanied them — says that Her Highness stopped 
suddenly before a fancy needlework shop, while the 
other two went on. The Grand Duchess, before 
entering the shop, motioned to Dmitri to walk along to 
the station, for his surveillance, as you know, always 
irritated her. Dmitri, therefore, strolled on — and — 
well, that was the last seen of her Highness ! " 


" Impossible ! " I gasped. 

" I have made every effort to trace her, but without 
avail," declared Hartwig in despair. " It appears that 
she purchased some coloured silks for embroider}^ paid 
for them, and then went out quite calmly. The girl 
who serv^ed her recollects her customer being met upon 
the threshold by a man who raised his hat in greeting 
and spoke to her. But she could not see his face, nor 
could she, in the dusk, discern whether he were young 
or old. The young lady seemed to be pleased to meet 
him, and, very curioush'', it struck her at the time that 
that meeting had been prearranged." 

" Wliy ? " I asked. 

" Because she says that the young lady, while making 
her purchase, glanced anxiously at her gold wristlet- 
watch once or twice." 

" She had a train to catch, remember." 

" Yes. I put that point before the girl, but she 
remains unshaken in her con\dction that Her Highness 
met the man there by appointment. In any case," 
he added, " w/e have been unable to discover* any trace 
of her since." 

I was silent for a moment. 

" But, surely, Hartwig, this is a most extraordinary 
affair ! " I cried. " She may have been deco}'ed into 
the hands of Danilovitch ! " 

" That is, alas ! what I very much fear," the police 
official admitted. " This I believe to be some deeply- 
laid plot of Markoff's to secure her silence. You have 
been across Siberia, and arrived too late, yet Her 
Highness is still in possession of the secret. She is the 
only living menace to Markoff. Is it not natural, 
therefore, that he should take steps to seal her Hps ? " 

" We must discover her, Hartwig — we must find 
her, either alive or dead," I said resolutely. 

This news staggered me, fagged and worn out as I 


was. I had been compelled to leave Luba in the hands 
of the Governor-General, who had promised, because 
I was the gnest of His Majesty, that he would do all in 
his power to render her lot less irksome. Indeed, she 
had been transferred to one of tlie rooms in the prison 
hospital in Yakutsk, and was under a wardress, instead 
of being guarded by those brutal, uncouth Cossacks. 

But this sudden disappearance of Natalia just at 
the very moment when her presence was of greatest 
importance held me utterly bewildered. All my efforts 
had been in vain ! 

Should I telegraph the alarming news to the Emperor ? 

Hartwig explained to me how diligently he had 
searched, and at once I realized the expert method 
with which he was dealing with the remarkable affair, 
and the wide scope of his inquiry. No man in Europe 
was more fitted to institute such a search. He had, 
in confidence, invoked^ the aid of New Scotland Yard, 
and being known by the heads of the Criminal Investi- 
gation Department, they had allowed him to direct the 

" At present," he said, " the papers are fortunately 
in entire ignorance of the matter. I have been very 
careful that notliing shaU leak out, for the story would, 
of course, be a grand one for the sensational Press. 
The pubHc, however, does not know whose identity 
is hidden beneath the name of Gottorp, and no reporter 
dreams that a Russian Grand Duchess has been living 
incognita in Brunswick Square," he added with a smile. 
" The Criminal Investigation Department have agreed 
with me that it would be imwise for a single word 
to leak out regarding the disappearance. Of course 
they incline to the theory of a secret lover — but " 

" You suspect young Drur>- — eh ? " I interrupted 

" I hardly know what theoi-y to form," he said with 


a puzzled air : " while the shopgirl in Eastbourne 
describes the appearance of the man's back as exactly 
similar to that of Mr. Drury, yet I cannot believe that 
he would v/illingh' play us such a trick. I know him 
quite well, and I beheve him to be a very honest, upright, 
straightforward 3'oung fellow." 

" He knows nothing of Her Highness's real identity ? " 
I asked anxiously, as we still strolled down towards 
the sea. 

" Has no suspicion whatever of it. He believes 
Miss Gottorp to be the daughter of a Berlin brewer 
who died and left her a fortune. No," he went on, 
*' I detect in this affair one of Markoff's clever plots. 
She probably believed that she was to meet young 
Drury, Etnd adopted that ruse to pause and speak with 
him— but ! " 

" But what ? " I asked, turning and looking into 
liis grave face, revealed by the light of a shop window. 

" Well — she was led into a trap," he said. " Decoyed 
away into one of the side streets, perhaps — and then — 
well, who knows what might have happened ? " 

" You have searched Eastbourne, I suppose ? " 

" The Criminal Investigation Department are doing 
so," he said. " I am making a perfectly independent 

'' You have reported nothing yet to Petersburg 
— eh ? " 

" Not a word. What can I say ? I have asked Miss 
West to refrain from uttering a syllable — also the 
Finlays have promised entire secrecy." 

" There is a motive in her disappearance, Hartwig," 
I said. " What is it ? " 

" Ah ! That's just it, Mr. Trewinnard," he replied. 
'' Her Highness had no motive whatever to disappear. 
Mr. Drury was alwa3^s welcome at Brunswick Square, 
for Miss West entirely approved of him. Besides, his 


presence had prevented other flirtations. Therefore^ 
there was no reason that there should have been any 
clandestine meeting in Eastbourne." 

" Then the onl}- other suggestion is that of treacher}\" 

" Exactly. And that is the correct one — depend 
upon it." 

" If she has fallen into Markoff's hands, then she 
may be already dead ! " I gasped, staring at him, 
" If so, the secret will remain a secret for ever ! " 

For a moment the great detective remained silent. 
Then slowly he said : 

" To tell the truth, that is exactly what I fear. Yet 
I will try and suppress the horrible apprehension. It 
is too terrible." 

" Danilovitch is unscrupulous," I said, " and he 
hates us." 

" No doubt he does. He fears us, yet ' and he 

paused. " Yet a most curious point is the fact that 
Her Highness deliberately remained behind and sent 
Dmitri on, in order to be allowed opportunity to escape 
his \'igilance." 

" All cleverl}' planned by her enemies," I declared. 
" She was misled, and fell into some ver}' cunningly- 
baited trap, without a doubt. Do you believe she is 
still in Eastbourne ? " 

" Na." 

" Neither do I," was my assertion. " She went to 
London, no doubt, for there she would be easily concealed 
— if death has not already overtaken- her — as it has 
overtaken poor Madame de Rosen." 

" I trust not," he said yery thoughtfully. Then 
he added : "I have been thinking whether we might 
not again approach Danilovitch ? " 

" He is our enemy and hers. He will give us no 
satisfaction," I said. " Certainly, whatever plot sug- 
gested by Markoff arose in his fertile brain. And his 


plots iisually have the same result — the death of the 
victim. It may be so in this case," I added reflectively ; 
'' but I sincerety tnist not." 

Hartwdg drew a long breath. His face clouded. 

" Remember," he said, " it is to Markoff's advantage 
— indeed to him her death means the suppression of 
some disgraceful truth. If she lives — then his fall is 
imminent. I have foreseen this all along, hence m}' 
constant precaution, which, alas ! was relaxed last 
Monday, because I had to go to London to consult the 
Ambassador. They evidently were aware of that." 

I explained the failure of my errand, whereat he 
drew a long breath and said : 

" It almost seems, Mr. Trewinnard, that our enemies 
have secured the advantage of us, after all. I really 
fear they have." 

" You fear that the trap into which Her Highness 
has fallen is a fatal one — eh ? " I asked, glancing at 
him quickly. 

" Wliat can I reply ? " he said in a low tone. " Kverf 
inquiry I can de^vdse is in progress. All the ports are 
watched, and observ^ation is kept night and day upon 
the house in Lower Clapton from a house opposite, 
which Matthews, of New Scotland Yard, has taken for 
the purpose. Her Highness has not been there — 
up to now. Markoff is in Petersburg." 

The great detective — the man whose cleverness in 
the detection of crime was perhaps unequalled in 
Europe— drew a long, thoughtful face as he halted with 
me beneath a street-lamp. 

People hurried past us, ignorant of the momentous 
question we were discussing. 

" Where is Dniry ? " I asked suddenly. 

" Ah ! That is yet another point," answered Hartwig. 
" He, too, is missing— he has disappeared ! " 




Just before eleven o'clock that night, accompanied 
by Hartwig, I called at Richard Dnir^^'s cosy artistic 
flat in Albemarle Street, and in answer to my questions 
his valet, a tall, thin-faced young man, informed me that 
his master was not at home. 

" I understand that you have had no news of him 
since last Monday ? " I said. " The fact is, this gentle- 
man is a detective, and we are endeavouring to elucidate 
the mystery of Mr. Drury's disappearance." 

The valet recognized Hartwig as having called before, 
and invited us into the small bachelor sitting-room, over 
the mantelpiece of which were many photographs of 
its owner's friends — the majority being of the opposite 

" Well, sir, it's a complete mystery," the man replied. 
" My master slept here on Sunday night, and left for the 
countr}^ on Monday afternoon. He had a directors-' 
meeting at Westminster on Tuesday, and told me that 
he should be back at midday. But he has never re- 
turned. That's all. They sent round from the office 
to know if he was in town, and of course I told them that 
he had not come back." 

" Have there been any callers lately ? " I asked > 
" Has a lady been here ? " 

" Only one lady ever calls, sir — a foreign lady named 

" And has she been here lately ? " I inquired quickly. 

" She called on the Friday, and they went out together 
to lunch at Jules's. She often calls. She's a very nice 
young lady, sir." 

" She hasn't called since Monday ? " I asked. 


" No, sir. A stranger — a foreigner — called on Tues- 
day afternoon and inquired for Mr. Drury." 

" A foreigner ! " I exclaimed. " Who was he ? De- 
scribe him." 

" Oh ! he was a dark, middle-aged man, dressed in a 
shabby brown suit. He wanted to see Mr. Drury very 

Hartwig and I exchanged glances. Was the caller 
an agent of Secret Police. 

" What did he sa}^ when you told him of your master's 
absence ? " 

" He seemed rather puzzled, and went away ex- 
pressing his intention of calling again." 

" He was a stranger ? " 

" I'd never seen him before, sir." 

" And this ^liss Gottorp — is your master very attached 
to her ? " 

" He worships her, as the sayin' is, sir," replied the 
man frankly. " She lives down at Brighton, and he 
spends half his time there on her account." 

"You say your master left London for the country 
on Monday afternoon. What was his destination ? " 

"Ah, I don't know. I only know he drove to 
Victoria, but whether he left by the South Eastern or 
the South Coast line is a mystery." 

I had already formed a theory that Drury had 
travelled down to Eastbourne and had met his well- 
beloved outside the shop in Terminus Road. After- 
wards both had disappeared ! My amazement was 
mingled with annoyance and chagrin. Natalia had, 
alas ! too Httle regard for the convenances. She had 
acted foolishly, with that recklessness which had 
always characterized her and had already scandalized 
the Imperial Family. Now it had resulted in her be- 
coming victim of some dastardly plot, the exact nature 
of which was not yet apparent. 


For half an hour we both questioned Drury's valet, 
but could learn little of further interest. Therefore we 
left, and strolled along Piccadilly as far as St. James's 
Club, where, until a late hour, we sat discussing the 
sensational affair. 

Was it an elopement, or had they both fallen victinis 
of some cleverly-conceived trap in which we detected 
the sinister hand of His Excellency General Serge 
Markoff ? 

Next day I returned to Brighton and closely questioned 
Miss West, the maid Davey, and the puzzled Dmitri. 
I saw the manager of the hotel where Drury was in the 
habit of staying, and, discovering that Drury's friend. 
Doctor Ingram, lived in Gower Street, I returned to 
London and that same night succeeded in running him 
to earth. 

He was perfectly frank. 

" Dick has disappeared as suddenl}" as if the ea.rth 
has swallowed him," he declared. " I can't make it 
out, especially as he told me he had a most important 
directors' meeting last Tuesday, and that he must travel 
up to Greenock on Thursday to be present at the launch 
of a new cruiser which his firm is building for the 
x\dmi£alty. He certainly would have kept those two 
appointments had he been free to do so." 

" You knew Miss Gottorp, I believe ? " I asked of the 
quiet-mannered, studious young man in gold-rimmed 

" Quite well. Dick's man told me yesterday that the 
young lady has also disappeared," he said. "It is 
really most extraordinary. I can't make it out. Dick 
is not the kind of man to elope, 3'ou know. He's too 
straightforward and honourable. Besides, he was 
always made most welcome at Brunswick Square 
— though, between ourselves, the young lady, though 
inexpressibly charming, was always a very great mystery 


to me. I went with Dick twice to her house, and on 
each occasion saw men, foreigners they seemed, lurking 
about the hall. . They eyed one suspiciously, and I did 
not like to visit her on that account." 

I pretended ignorance, but could see that he held 
Natalia in some suspicion. Indeed, he half hinted that 
for aught they knew, the pretty young lady might be 
some clever foreign adventuress. 

At that I laughed heartily. What would he think if 
I spoke the truth ? 

Next day I put into the personal columns of several 
of the London newspapers an advertisement which read : 

" GoTTORP. — Have returned : very anxious ; write 
club — Unxle Colin." 

Then for four days I waited for a reply, visiting the 
club a dozen times each day, but aU in vain. 

I called at Chesham House one afternoon and had a 
chat with His Excellency the Russian Ambassador. He 
was unaware of Her Imperial Highness's disappearance, 
and I did not inform him. I wanted to know what 
knowledge he possessed, and whether Markoff was still 
m Petersburg. I discovered that he knew nothing, 
and that at that moment the Chief of Secret Police was 
with the Emperor at the mihtary manoeuvres in progress 
on that great plain which stretches from the town of 
Ivanovo across to the western bank of the broad Volga. 

Hartwig was ever active, night and day, but no trace 
could we find of the missing couple: Drury's friends, 
on their part, were making inquiry in every direction, 
but all to no avail. The pair had entirely disappeared. 

The house of the conspirators in Lower Clapton was 
being watched night and day, but as far as it could be 
observ^ed there was little or no activity in that quarter. 
DaniIo\itch was still living there in retirement, going 


out only after dark, and though he was always shadowed 
it could not be found that he ever called at any other 
place than a little shop kept by a Russian cigarette- 
maker in Dean Street, Soho, and a small eight-roomed 
villa in North Finchley, where lived a compatriot named 
Felix Sasonoff, the London correspondent of one of the 
Petersburg daily newspapers. 

Our warning had, it seemed, had its effect. Much as 
we desired to approach the mysterious head of the so- 
called Revolutionary Organization — the man known as 
" The One," but whose identity was veiled in mystery — 
we dared not do so, knowing that he was our bitterest 

One morning, in despair at obtaining no trace of the 
missing pair, I resolved to travel to Petersburg and there 
make inquiry. I realized that I must imform the 
Emperor, even at risk of his displeasure, for, after all, 
I had been compelled by my journey to Siberia to relax 
my vigilance, though I had left the little madcap under 
Hartwag's protection. 

What if they had actually eloped ! Alas ! I knew 
too well the light manner in which Natalia regarded the 
conventions of old-fashioned Mother Grundy. Indeed, 
it had often seemed her delight to commit breaches of 
the Imperial etiquette and to cause horror in her family. 

Yet surely she would never commit such an unpardon- 
able offence as to elope with Richard Drury ! 

Again, was she already dead ? That was, I confess, 
my greatest fear, knowing well the desperate cunning 
of Serge Markoff, and all that her decease meant to him. 

So, with sudden resolve, I took the Nord Express 
once more back across Europe, and four days later found 
myself again in my old room at the Embassy, where 
Stoyanovitch brought me a command to audience from 
the Emperor. 

How can I adequately describe the interview, which 


took place in a spacious room in the Palace of Tzar- 

, " So your friend Madame de Rosen was unfortunately 
dead before you reached Yakutsk," remarked His 
Majesty gravely, standing near the window in a brilliant 
uniform covered with glittering decorations, for he had 
just returned from an official function. " I heard of 
it," he added. " The Governor-General Vorontzoff 
reported to me by telegraph. Indeed, Trewinnard, I 
had frequent reports of your progress. I am sorry you 
undertook such a journey all in vain." 

" I beg of Your Majest3^'s clemency towards the dead 
woman's daughter Luba," I asked. 

But he only made a gesture of impatience, saying : 

" I have already demanded a report on the whole 
case. Until that comes, I regret I cannot act. Voront- 
zoff v/ill see that the girl is not sent farther north, and 
no doubt she ^^'ill be well treated." 

In a few brief words I described som.e of the scenes 
I had witnessed on the Great Post Road, but the 
Emperor only sighed heavily and replied : 

" I regret it, I tell \^ou. But how can I control the 
loyal Cossacks sent to escort those who have made 
attempts upon my Hfe ? I admit most freely that the 
exile system is wTong, cruel — perhaps inhuman. Yet 
how can it be altered ? " 

" If Your Majesty makes searching inquir\^ he will find 
some terrible injustices committed in the name of the law." 

''' In confidence, I teU you, I am having secret inquiry 
made in certain quarters," he replied. " And, Tre- 
wdnnard, I wish you, if you wih, to make out for me a 
full and confidential report on your journey, and I will 
then have all your allegations investigated." 

I thanked him. Though an autocrat, he was yet a 
humane and just ruler — when he was allowed to exercise 
justice, which, unfortunatelv, was but seldom. ■, 


"My journey had a tragic sequel in Yakutsk, Sire/' 
I said presently, " and upon my return to England I 
was met with still another misfortune — a misfortune upon 
which I desire to consult Your Imperial Majesty." 

" What ? " he asked, opening his eyes widely. " A 
further misfortune ? " 

" 1^ regret to be compelled to report that her Imperial 
Highness the Grand Duchess Natalia has disappeared," 
I said in a low voice. 

His dark, hea\y brows narrowed, Ids cheeks went 
pale, and his lips compressed. 

" Disappeared ! " he gasped. " WTiat do you mean ? 
Describe this latest escapade of hers — for I suppose it 
is some ridiculous freak or other ? " 

" I fear not, Sire," was my reply. Then, having 
described to him the facts as I have related them here 
to you, my reader, omitting, of course, aU reference to 
Richard Drur\^ I added : " WTiat I fear is that Her 
Highness has fallen victim to some revolutionary plot." 

" Why ? What motive can the revolutionar}-' party 
have in msiking an attempt upon her — a mere giddy 
girl ? " 

" The same motive which incited the attempt in 
Petersburg, in which her lamented father lost his life," 
was my quiet reply. 

His Majesty touched a bell, and in answer Stoyano- 
vitch appeared upon the threshold and saluted. 

" If General Markoff is still here I desire to see him 

The Captain saluted, backed out, and withdrew. 

I held my breath. This was, indeed, a misfortune. 
I had no wish that Markoff should know of the inquiries 
I was instituting. 

" May I venture to make a request of Your Majesty ? " 
I asked in a low, uncertain voice. 

" What is it ?" he asked with quick irritation. 


" That General Markoff shall be allowed to remain 
in ignorance of Her Highness 's disappearance ? " 

" Why ? " asked the Emperor, looking across at me 
in surprise. 

" Because — well, because, for certain reasons, I 
believe secrecy at present to be the best course," I 
replied somewhat lameh'. 

" Nonsense ! " was his abrupt response. " Natalia 
is missing. You suspect that she has fallen victim to 
some conspirac}'. Therefore Markoff must know, and 
our Secret Pohce must investigate. Markoff knows of 
every plot as soon as it is conceived. His organization 
is marvellous. He will probably know something. 
Fortunately, he had only just left me on your arrival." 

His Excellency probably left the Emperor's presence 
because he did not wish to meet me face to face. 

Again I tried to impress upon His Majesty that, as 
Hartwig had commenced an investigation in England, 
the matter might be left to him. But he only replied : 

" Hartwig is head of the criminal police. He there- 
fore has little, if any, knowledge of the revolutionaries. 
No, Tre^vinnard. This is essentially a matter for 

I bit my Hps, for next second the white-enamelled 
steel door of that bomb-proof room in which v/e were 
standing was thrown * open, and a chamberlain an- 
nounced : 

" His Excellency General Sei'ge Markoff ! " 



For a second the famous chief of Secret Police turned 
his cunning, steel-blue eyes upon mine and bowed 
slightly, after making obeisance to His Majesty. 


" Why, I believed, Mr. Trewinnard, that you were 
still in Siberia ! " he said with a crafty smile. Though 
my bitterest enemy, he always feigned the greatest 

" Trewinnard has just revealed a very painful and 
serious fact, Markoff," exclaimed the Emperor, in ^ 
deep, earnest voice. " Her Highness the Grand Duchess 
Natalia has disappeared." 

The General gave no sign of sui-prise. 

" It has already been reported to us," was his calm 
answer. " I have not reported it, in turn, to Your 
Majesty, fearing to cause undue alarm. Both here and 
in England we are instituting every possible inquiry-." 

" Another plot," I remarked, with considerable 
sarcasm, I fear. 

" Probably," was His Excellency's reply, as he turned 
to His Imperial Master, and in that fawning voice of 
his, added : " Your Majesty may rest assured that if 
Her Highness be alive she will be found, wherever she 
may be." 

Hatred — hatred most intense — arose within my 
heart as I glanced at the sinister face of the favourite 
before me, the man who had deliberately ordered the 
commission of that crime which had resulted in the 
death of the Emperor's brother, the Grand Duke 
Nicholas. To his orders had been due that exciting 
episode in which I had so nearly lost my life in Siberia ; 
at his orders, too, poor Marya de Rosen had been de- 
liberately sent to her grave ; and at his orders had been 
planned the conspiracy against the Grand Duchess 
which Danilo Danilovitch had intended to carr>' into 
execution, and would no doubt have done, had he not 
been prevented by Hartwig's boldness. 

I longed to turn and denounce him before his Imperial 
Master. Indeed, hot, angry words were upon my lips, 
but I suppressed them. No ! The time was not yet 


ripe. Natalia herself had promised to make the revela- 
tions, and to her I must leave them. 

I must find her — and then. 

" Ah ! " exclaimed His Majesty, well pleased. " I 
knew that 3'ou would be already informed, Markoff. 
You know ever^^thing. Nothing which affects my 
family ever escapes you." 

" r hope not, Sire.^ I trust I may ever be permitted 
to display my loyalty and gratitude for the confidence 
which Your ilajesty sees fit to repose in me." 

" To your astuteness, Markoff, I have owed my life 
a score of times," the Emperor declared. " I have 
alreadv acknowledged your devoted services. Now 
make haste and discover the whereabouts of my hare- 
brained little niece, Tattie, for the Httle \^itch is utterly 

Markoff, pale and hard-faced, was silent for a moment. 
Then with a strange expression upon his grey, deceitful 
countenance he said : » 

" Perhaps I should inform Your Majesty of one point 
which to-day was reported to us from England — namely, 
that it is believed that Her Highness has fled with — 
w^ell, with a lover — a certain young Englishman." 

" A lover ! " roared the Emperor, his face instantly 
white with anger. " Another lover ! Who is he, 
pray ? " 

""^His name is Richard Drur}-," His Excellency 

" Then the girl has created an open scandal ! The 
English and French newspapers will get hold of it, 
and we shall have detailed accounts of the elopement — 
eh ? " he cried excitedly. " This, Markoff, is really -too 
much ! " Then turning to me he asked : " What do 
you know of this young Drur\^ ? TeU me, Trewinnard." 

" Very little. Sire, except that he is her friend, and 
that he is in ignorance of her true station." 


" But are they in love with each other ? " he de- 
manded in a hard voice. " Have you neglected my 
instructions and allowed clandestine meetings — eh ? " 

" Unfortunately my journey across Siberia pre- 
vented my exercising due vigilance," I faltered. " Yet 
she gave me her word of honour that she would form 
no male attachment." 

" Bosh ! " he cried angrily, as he crossed the room. 
" No girl can resist faUing in love with a man if he is 
good-looking and a gentleman — at least, no girl of 
Tattle's high spirits and disregard for the convenances. 
You were a fool, Trewinnard, to accept the girl's word." 

" I believed in the honour of a lady," I said in mild 
reproach, " and especially as the lady was a Romanoff." 

" The Romanoff women are as prone to fhrtation as 
any commoner of the same sex," he declared hastily. 
" Markoff knows of more than one scandal which has 
had to be faced and crushed out during the last five 
years. But this fellow Drury," he added impatiently, 
" who is he ? " 

In a few brief sentences I told him what I knew 
concerning him. 

" You think they have fallen in love ? " 

" I am fully convinced of it. Sire." 

" Therefore they may have eloped ! Tattle's dis- 
appearance may have no connection with any revolu- 
tionary plot — eh ? " 

" It may not. But upon that point I am quite un- 
decided," was my reply. 

" Let me hear your views, Markoff," said the Em- 
peror sharply. 

" I believe that Her Highness has fallen the victim of 
a plot," was his quick reply. " The man Drur}- may 
have shared the same fate.'^ 

" Fate ! " he echoed. " Do you anticipate, then, 
that the girl is dead ? " 



" Ala5, Sire ! If she has fallen into the hands of the 
revolutionists, then without doubt she is dead," was the 
cunning official's reply. 

Was he revealing to his Imperial Master a fact that 
he knew ? Was he preparing the Emperor for the 
receipt of bad news ? 

I glanced at his grey, coarse, sphinx-like counte- 
nance, and felt convinced that such was the case. Had 
she, after all, fallen a victim of his craft and cunning, 
and were her lips sealed for ever ? 

I stood there staring at the pair, the Emperor and 
his all-powerful favourite, like a man in a dream. Sud- 
denly I roused myself with the determination that I 
would leave no stone unturned to unmask this man and 
reveal him in his true light to the Sovereign who had 
trusted him so complacently, and had been so ingeniously 
blinded and misled by this arch-adventurer, to whose 
evil machinations the "death of so many innocent persons 
were due. 

" Then you are not certain whether, after all, it is an 
elopement ? " asked the Emperor, glancing at him a 
few moments later. And turning impatiently to me 
he said in reproach : " I gave her into your hands, 
Trev-innard. You promised me solemnly to exercise 
aU necessary \dgilance in order to prevent a repetition 
of that affair in Mosco\^', when the madcap was about 
to run away to London. Yet you relaxed 3'our \agilance 
and she has escaped while you have been on your wild- 
goose chase through Siberia." 

" With greatest respect to your Majesty, I humbly 
submit that my mission was no wild-goose chase. It 
concerned a woman's honour and her liberty," and I 
glanced at ^larkoff's grey, imperturbable countenance. 
" But the unfortunate lady was sent to her death — 
purposely killed by exhaustion and exposure, ere I 
could reach Yakutsk." 


" She was a dangerous person," the General snapped, 
with a smile of sarcasm. 

" Yes," I said in a hard, bitter voice. " She was 
marked as such upon the list of exiles — and treated as 
such — treated in a manner that no woman is treated 
in any other country which calls itself Christian ! " 

I saw displeasure written upon the Emperor's face, 
therefore I apologized for my outburst. 

" It ill becomes you, an Englishman, to criticize our 
penal system, Trewinnard," the Emperor remarked in 
quiet rebuke. " And, moreover, we are not discussing 
it. Madame de Rosen conspired against my life and 
she is dead. Therefore the question is closed." 

" I believe when Your Majesty comes to ascertain 
the truth — the actual truth," I said, glancing meaningly 
at Markoff, who was then standing before the 
Sovereign, his hands clasped behind his back, " that 
you will discover some curious connection between the 
death of Mar^^a de Rosen in the Yakutsk prison and 
the disappearance and probable death of Her Imperial 
Highness the Grand Duchess Natalia." 

" What do you mean ? " he asked, staring at me in 

" For answer," I said, " I m.ust, with great respect, 
direct Your Majesty to His Excellency General Markoff, 
who is aware of all that concerns the Imperial family. 
He probably knows the truth regarding the strange 
disappearance of the young lady, and what connection 
it has with Madame de Rosen's untimely end." 

" I really do not understand you," cried the renowned 
chief of Secret Police, drawing himself up suddenly. 
" What do you infer ? " 

" His Majesty is anxious to learn the truth," I said, 
looking straight into those cunning blue eyes of his. 
" Your Excellency, a loyal and dutiful subject, wiU, I 
trust, now make full revelation of what has really 



happened during the past twelve months, and what secret 
tie existed between Her Highness and Mar^^a de Rosen." 

His face went white as paper. But only for a single 
second. He alwa5's preserved the most marvellous 

"I do not follow your meaning," he declared. 
" Madame de Rosen's death was surely no concern of 
mine. Many other politicals have died on their way to 
the Arctic settlements." 

" You speak in enigmas, Trewinnard. Pray be more 
exphcit," the Emperor urged. 

I could see that my words had suddenly aroused his 
intense curiosity, although well aware of the antagonism 
in which I held the dreaded oppressor of Holy Russia. 

" I regret, Your Majesty, that I cannot be more ex- 
plicit," I said. " His Excellency will reveal the truth 
— a strange truth. If not, I myself will do so. But 
not, however, to-day. His Excellency must be afforded 
an opportunity of explaining circumstances of which he 
is aware. Therefore I humbly beg to withdraw." 

And I crossed to the door and bowed low. 

" As you wish, Trewinnard," answered the Emperor 
impatiently, as with a wave of the hand he indicated 
that my audience was at an end. 

So as I backed out, bo\Wng a second time, and while 
Markoff stood there in statuesque silence, his face livid, 
I added in a clear voice : 

" Ask His Excellency for the truth — the disgraceful 
truth ! He alone knows. Let him find Her Imperial 
Highness — if he can — if he dare ! " 

Then I opened the door and made my exit, full of 
wonder at what might occur when the pair were alone. 




Ox returning to Petersburg that evening and entering 
the Embassy, I found a telegram from Hartwig, sum- 
moning me back to London immediately. There were 
no details, only the words : " Return here at once." 

All my letters to the club I had ordered to be sent to 
him during my absence, so I wondered whether he had 
received any communication from the missing pair. 
With the knowledge that any telegrams to me would be 
copied and sent to the Bureau of Secret Police, he had 
wisely omitted any reason for my return to London. I 
sent him, through the Bureau of Detective PoHce, the 
message to wire me details to the Esplanade Hotel in 
Berlin, and at midnight left by the ordinary train for 
the German frontier. 

Four eager anxious days I spent on that never-ending 
journey between the Neva and the Channel. At Berlin, 
on calling at the hotel, I received no word from him, 
only when I entered the St. James's Club at five o'clock 
on the afternoon of my arrival at Charing Cross did I 
find him awaiting me. 

" Well," I asked anxiously, as I entered the square 
hall of the club, " what news ? " 

" She's alive," he said. " She saw your advertise- 
ment and has replied ! " 

*' Thank heaven ! " I gasped. " Where is she ? " 

" Here is the address," and he drew from his pocket- 
book a slip of paper, with the words written in Natalia's 
own hand : " Miss Stebbing, Glendevon House, Loch- 
earnhead, Perthshire." And with it he handed the note 
wliich had come to the club and which he had opened — 


a few brief words merely enclosing her address and tell- 
ing me to exercise the greatest caution in approaching 
her, " I have been watched by very suspicious persons," 
she added, " and so I am in hiding here. When you 
can come, do so. I am extremely anxious to see you." 

" Wliat do you make of that ? " I asked the famous 
police official. 

"That she scented dan,ger and escaped," he repHed. 
*' My first intention was to go up to Scotland to see her, 
but on reflection I thought, sir, that you might prefer 
to go alone." 

" I do. I shall leave Euston by the mail to-night 
and shall be there to-morrow morning. She has, I see 
assumed another name." 

" Yes, and she has certainly gone to an outlandish 
spot where no one would have thought of searching for 

" Drury suggested it, without a doubt. He knows 
Scotland so well," I said. 

Therefore yet another night I spent in a sleeping-car 
between Euston and Perth, eating scones for breakfast 
in the Station Hotel at the latter place, and leaving an 
hour later by way of Crieff and St. Fillans, to the 
beautiful bank of Loch Earn, lying calm and blue in the 
spring sunshine. 

At the farther end of the loch the train halted at the 
tiny station of Lochearnhead, a small collection of 
houses at the end of the picturesque little lake, where 
the green wooded banks sloped to the water's edge. 
Quiet, secluded, and far from the bustle of town or city 
it was. I found a rural little lake-side \aQage, with a 
post-office and general shop combined, and a few charm- 
ing old-world cottages inhabited by sturdy, homely 
Scottish folk. 

Of a brown-whiskered shepherd passing near the 
station I inquired for Glendevon House, whereupon he 


pointed to a big white count n^ mansion high upon the 
hill-side, commanding a wide view across the loch and 
surrounding hills ; a house hemmed in by tall firs, fresh 
in their bright spring green. 

A quarter of an hour later, having climbed the wind- 
ing road leading to it, I entered the long drive flanked 
by rhododendrons, and was approaching the house when, 
across the lawn a slim female figure, in a white cotton 
gown, with a crimson flower in the corsage, came flying 
toward me, crying : 

"Uncle Colin! Uncle Colin! At last!" 

And a moment later Natalia wrung my hand warmly, 
her cheeks flushed with pleasure at our encounter. 

" Whatever is the meaning of this latest escapade ? " 
I asked. " You've given ever\'body a pretty fright, I 
can tell you." 

" I know, Uncle Cohn. But you'll forgive me, won't 
you ? Say you do," she urged. 

" I can't before I know what has really happened." 

" Let's go over to that seat," she suggested, pointing 
to a rustic bench set invitingly on the lawn beneath a 
spreading oak, " and I'll tell you everything." 

Then as we walked across the lawn she regarded me 
critically and said : " How thin you are 1 How very 
travel- worn you look ! " 

" Ah ! " I sighed. " I've been a good many thousand 
miles since last I saw Your Highness." 

" I know. And how is poor Mar^-a ? You found 
her, of course." 

" Alas ! " I said in a low voice, " I did not. My 
journey was of no avail. She died a few hours before 
my arrival in Yakutsk ! " 

" Died in Yakutsk," she echoed in a hoarse wliisper 
halting and looking at me. " Poor Mary a dead 1 And 
Luba ? " 

" Luba is well, but still in prison." 


" Dead ! " repeated the girl, speaking to herself, " and 
so your long winter jou^piey was all in vain ! " 

" Utterly useless," I said. " Then, on returning 
to London a fortnight ago, I learned that you had 
mysteriously disappeared. I have been back to Peters- 
burg and informed the Emperor." 

" And what did he say ? Was he at all anxious ? " 
she asked quickly. 

"It is knowTi that Dmry has also disappeared, and 
therefore His Majesty believes that you have fled 

" So we did, but it was not an elopement. No, dear 
old Uncle Colin, \'ou needn't be horribly scandalized. Mrs. 
Holbrook, the o^vn.eT of this place, is Dick's aunt, and he 
brought me here so that I might hide from my enemies." 

" Then where is he ? " 

" Staying at the hotel over at St. Fillans, at the other 
end of the loch, under the name of Gregory. Fortunately^ 
his aunt has only recently bought this place, so he has 
never been here before. She is extremely kind to me." 

" Then you often see Drur\^ — eh ? " 

" Oh, yes, we spend each day together. Dick comes 
over by the eleven o'clock train. It is such fun — much 
better than Brighton." 

" But the London police are searching everywhere 
for you both," I said. 

" This is a long way from London," she replied with 
a bright laugh ; " they are not likely to find us, nor are 
those bitter enemies of ours." 

" What enemies ? " 

" The revolutionists. There is a desperate plot 
against me. Of that I am absolute^ convinced," she 
said as she sank upon the rustic garden seat beneath 
the tree. The sunny view over loch and woodland was 
delightful, and the pretty garden and fir wood surround- 
ing were full of birds singing their morning song. 


" But you told neither Hartwig nor Dmitri of your 
fears," I remarked. " Why not ? " and I looked straight 
into her beautiful face, lit by the brilliant sunshine. 

" Well, I will tell you, Uncle Colin," she said, leaning 
back, putting her neat little brown shoe forth from the 
hem of her white gown, and folding her bare arms as 
she turned to me. " Dick one day discovered that 
wherever we went we were followed by Dmitri, and, 
as you may imagine, I had considerable difficulty in 
explaining his constant presence. But Dick loves 
me, and hence believes every word I tell him. He " 

" I know, you little minx," I interrupted reprovingly, 
" you've bewitched him. I only fear lest your mutual 
love may lead to unhappiness." 

" That's just it. I don't know exactly what will 
happen when he learns who I really am." 

" He must be told veiy soon," I said ; " but go on, 
explain what happened." 

" Ah ! no," cried the girl in quick alarm : " you 
must not tell him. He must not know. If so, it means 

our parting, and — and " she faltered, her big, 

expressive eyes ghstened with unshed tears. " Well 
— you know. Uncle Colin — you know how fondly I 
love Dick." 

" Yes, I know, my child," I sighed. " But continue, 
tell me all about your disappearance and its motive." 
Now that I had found her I saw to what desperate 
straights Markoff must be reduced. He had, after all, 
no knowledge of her whereabouts. 

" It was like this," she said. " One evening we had 
walked along the cHffs to Rottingdean together. 
Dmitri had not followed us, or else he had missed us 
before we left Brighton. But just as we were coming 
down the hiU, after passing that big girls' college, Dick 
noticed that we were being followed by a man, who he 
decided was a foreigner. He was, I saw, a thin-faced 


man with a black moustache and deeply furrowed brow, 
and then I recognized him as a man whom I had seen 
on several previous occasions. I recollected that he 
followed us that night on the pier when you first saw 
Dick walking with Doctor Ingram." 

"A man of middle height, undoubtedly a Russian," 
I cried. " I remember him distinctly. His name is 
Danilo Danilovitch — a most dangerous person." 

" Ah ! " she exclaimed, " I see you know him. Well, 
at the moment I was not at all alarmed, but next day 
I received an anonymous letter telling me to exercise 
every precaution. There was a revolutionary plot to 
kill me. It was intended to kill both Dick and myself. 
I showed him the letter. At first he was puzzled to 
know why the revolutionary party should seek to 
assassinate a mere girl like myself, but again he accepted 
my explanation that it was in revenge for some action 
of my late father, and eventually we resolved to dis- 
appear together and remain in hiding imtil you returned. 
Then, according to what Mar3^a de Rosen had told you, 
I intended to act." 

" Alas! I learnt nothing." 

" Ah ! " she sighed. " That is the unfortunate point. 
I am undecided now how to act." 

" Explain how 3^ou managed to elude Dmitri's 
vigilance in Eastbourne." 

'* WeU, on that evening in Eastbourne I induced 
]\Iiss West, Gladys Finlay and Dmitri to walk on fb 
the station, and I entered a shop. W^hen I came out, 
Dick joined me. W'e shpped round a comer, and after 
hurrying through a number of back streets found cur- 
selves again on the Esplanade. We walked along to 
Pevensey, whence that night we took train to Hastings, 
and arrived in London just before eleven. At mid- 
night we left Euston for Scotland, and next morning 
found ourselves in hiding here.. I was awfully sorry 


,o give Ix>or ^^^Zo^i^^t^.X^ Sfth tX^ 
Hartwg would ^e '""^•i"! f^^J^^,^ and lie quite low 
me But I thought It best to escap ^^^^^ to 

rkS CoriatJ.rSw, ho£g that ,ou .ight 
"ceive the message as y°« P=^|^^V„^3rw'^and did not 
.a'v^ rstatn*?''" ^^^ '"ote^^se I. no doubt. 
Should have received It daneerous," she 

"^°. T'^T^e fe J PoUcrare^^^^^^^ with 
?cr-'otall tel'gramr^ming from abroad, and Markoff 

'^ Ji^«ub? he\^"l said •• As you well taow he 

iJ^^^ S^yo^a^ ar^e- Jo^ies^ot his 

1^ ^Ift. n'Xwdedd°ed that.I, too. must ^ 
^'^^.rZ therefore it now remains for Your High- 

'*' fSloBA. Dick ! " she asW pr« m .^o. 


I sighed. And of a sudden, ere I was aware of ii- 

There, at her side I sat utterly at a loss what to 
say in order to mitigate her distress; for ^0^611 I 
knew that the pair loved each other tAily nay madJv 

th^SUest fa'^i}""' % '° ^™P^"^^ Gra^ndTuch^f ri 
tne greatest family m Europe is ust as intense iust i=i 
passionate just as fervent as that of a comminerM 
she only a typist, a seamstress, or a serving-mTw Tie 
same feelings, the same emotions, the same passionate 
longings and tenderness; the same loving heart befts 

Of thf 'pletiar^'^ °^- ''' '=^*--" - '--t^ '^^ 
You, my friendly readers, each of vou— be vou n-an 

Invr^T"' ^°^^ *°-^"y' °^ ^^^'^ l°^'«d long ago Your 
love IS human, your affection firm, strong Ld undvhg 
drffenng in no particular to the emotions expmS 

bLdX'af " *'^ ^°"^«^ ^' ^'^^ P"-- °f ^he 

sidV°.°r,Hl,i** *^' little figure on the rustic seat at mv 
side and aU my sympathy went out to her 

I Ltra|if Xt ihf s^ff^d,'^:;:^' z;^^^^^ 

'SSi^^'^^^^^ °^ ^ her hopef^f^^uXT 

thf^unwritten"?™"'?l*'''V^'''"*e'* ^'n pronomiced by 
tne unwntten law of her Imperial circle. She lovei a 

roTthe 'deo Jed^t° '°'^''f;u'° ^^^^"^ ^^ save her nafion 
trom the depredations of that unscrupulous camarJla 
the Council of Mimsters, would mean to her the abandon-' 

Sid *de votedl^'"?.^ Englishman she loved so intensery 
ana devotedly— the sacrifice, alas ! of aU she held nost 
dear in life by the betrayal of her identity. 




H VING been introduced to Mrs. Holbrook-a pleasajit- 
fa^d oW la%^ in a white laced cap with mauve nbbon. 
taced oia iaa> m ^^ Stebbing " to leave, and took 

— made excuse to .^Usb sieuuuig ^ Kili^in^ 

'IcaM'atThfhotel and inquired for Mr. Gregoo,. 
bu was informed that he was out ^hing But though 
I Imched there and waited tiU evening, yet he did not 

'^ &°again I took train back to Locheamhead, and with 
thegoX sunset flashing upon the loch chmbed^he 
hiUpath towards Glendevon House-a nearer cut han 

%iddenSi: rfurned the corner, I saw two figures 
goirg on b^efore me-Natalia and Richard Dn-ry . She 
wor' a darker gown than in the momuig, with^imple 
C^kabout country hat, whUe he had on a rough tweed 
^tet and breeches. I drew back quickly when I 
recSnized them. His arm was tenderly around her 
waiTas they walked, and he was bending to her 
Tpeiking softly, as with slow steps they ascended through 

"'^S'lheVTere indeed a handsome, well-matched 
pak 'But I held my breath, foreseeing the tragic 
grief which must ere long ansa as the result of that 
forlidden affection. 


Standing well back in the liedge, I gazed after the^ 
w'hV^'*'"S'*'Pt**^'^^' ^^entupthat unfrequented 
paused LTIy. ™"^'' ^"d grass-grown. Suddenly the. 
paused, and the man, believing that they were alon^ 

back her hal t'd"'^ '" .^'J ^*^°"§ emb'^ace, pushed 
Dack her hat, and imprinted a warm, passionate kss 
upon her white, open brow. pisMonate Kss 

Perhaps it was impohte to watch. I suppose it wa • 
yet my sympathy was entirely with th^em I wto 
had once loved and experienced a poignant sorrovTis 

Spe cialfv" now'th fV''''' l^^'^ '''' ^' that'mrei 
ebpecially now that the girl, even though an Imperal 

Princess, was compelled to decide between tove^^d 
Unseen, I watched them cling to each other exchai-- 

Ihf d°a"rk I'Tr'' T'''"'- ' '^'^ '^i'" tenderiy P ^h 
the dark ha r from her eyes and again place his lot 
hps reverently to her brow. He held her small hmd 
and ioofang straight into her wonderful eyes "aw trfth 
Jionesty and pure affection mirrored there ' 

hAj ^ i'l^'"!- ''^'^^'^ ^^"^ evening 'shadows fell 
he had placed his hand lightly upon he? shoulder nd 
was whispering m her ear, speaking words of passiorate 
affection, in ignorance that between them alas° lav 
a barrier of b rth which could never be bribed ' ^ 
I felt myself a sneak and an eavesdroppir ■ bit I 
assure you It was with no idle curiosity-^nly becfuse 
vhat I had witnessed aroused within me the nost 
intense sorrow, because I knew that onlv a man's real 

fw^n/ TT'"! ^'°^''' '^'^^^t ^0""W accrue fom 
that most unfortunate attachment 

\-it"lti' t^ "'"'■''^ ^ '"-'■'^ "° -''^ " g^«^t« respect taan 
Natalia, the unconventional daughter of proud Imomal 
Romanoffs Indeed, I regarded lier with consiSe 
ahection, If the truth were told. She had charmed m 
by her natural gaiety of heart, her disregard for kksom 


etiquette and her plain outspokenness. She was a 
typical outdoor girl. What the end of her affection 
for Dick Drury would be I dreaded to anticipate. 

Again he bent, and kissed her upon the lips, her 
sweet face raised to his, aglow in the crimson sunset. 

He had clasped her tenderly to his heart, holding 
her there in his strong arms, while he rained his hot, 
fervent kisses upon her, and she stood in inert ecstasy. 

Soon the shadows dechned, yet the pair still stood 
there in silent enjoyment of their passionate love, all 
unconscious of observation. I drew a long breath. 
Had I not myself long ago drunk the cup ox happiness 
to the very dregs, just as Dick Drury was now drinking 
it — and ever since, throughout my whole career in those 
gay Court circles in foreign cities, I had been obsessed 
by a sad and bitter remembrance. She had married 
a peer, and was now a great lady in London society. 
Her pretty face often looked out at me from the illus- 
trated papers, for she was one of England's leading 
hostesses, and mentioned daily in the " personal " 

Once she had sent me an invitation to a shooting- 
party at her fine castle in Yorkshire. The irony of 
it all ! I had declined in three lines of formal thanks. 

Ah ! yes. No man knew the true depths of grief 
and despair better than myself, therefore, surely, no 
man was more fitted to sympathize with that hand- 
some couple, clasped, at that moment in each other's 

I turned back ; I could endure it no longer, fore- 
seeing tragedy as I did. 

Descending the hill to the loch-side again, I found 
the carriage road, and approached the big white house. 

I was standing alone in the long, old-fashioned draw- 
ing-room, with its bright chintzes and bowls of pot- 
pourri, awaiting Mrs. Holbrook, when the merry pair 


came in through the long French windows, from the 
sloping lawn. 

" Why, Uncle Colin ! " she gasped, starting and 
staring at me. " How long have ^-ou been here ? " 

" Only a few moments," I replied, and then, advanc- 
ing, I shook Drury's hand. He looked a fine, handsome 
fellow in his rough country tweeds. 

" So glad to meet you again, Mr. Trewinnard," he 
said frankly, a smile upon his healthy, bronzed face. 
" I've heard from Miss Gottorp of your long journey 
across Siberia. You've been away months — ever since 
the beginning of the winter ! I've always had a morbid 
longing to see Siberia. It must be a most dreadful place." 

" Well, it's hardly a country for pleasure-seeking," 
I laughed ; then changing my tone, I said : " You 
two have given me a nice fright ! I returned to find 
you both missing, and feared lest something awful had 
happened to you." 

" Fear of something happening caused us to dis- 
appear," he answered ; then he practically repeated 
what Natalia had told me earlier in the day. " My 
aunt very kindly offered to put Miss Gottorp up, and 
I have since lived down at St. Fillans under the name 
of Gregory." 

I told him of the search in progress in order to dis- 
cover him. But he declared that a Scotch village 
or the back streets of a manufacturing town were the 
safest places in which to conceal oneself. 

" But how long do you two intend causing anxiety 
to your friends ? " I asked, glancing from one to the other. 

Natalia looked at her lover with wide-open eyes of 

" Who knows ? " she asked. " Dick has to decide 

" But Miss West and Dave\7, and all of them at 
Hove are distracted," I said, and then, turning to 


Drury, added, *' Your man in Albemarle Street and 
the people at your offices in Westminster are satisfied 
that you've met with foul play. You certainly ought 
to relieve their minds by making some sign." 

" I must, soon," he said. " But meanwhile " and 

he turned his eyes upon his well-beloved meaningly. 

" Meanwhile, you are both perfectly happy — eh ? " 

*' Now don't lecture us, Uncle Colin ! " cried the 
little madcap, leaning over the back of a chair and 
holding up her finger threateningly ; and then to Dick 
she added : " Oh ! you don't know how horrid my 
wicked uncle can be when he likes. He says such 
caustic things." 

" When my niece deserves them — and only then," 
I assured her lover. 

Though Dick Drury was in trade a builder of ships, 
as his father before him, he was one of nature's gentle- 
men. There was nothing of the modem young man, 
clean-shaven, over-dressed, with tumed-up trousers 
and bright socks. He was tall, lithe, strong, well and 
neatly dressed as became a man in his station — a man 
with an income of more than ten thousand a year, as 
I had already secretly ascertained. 

Had not Natalia been of Imperial birth the match 
would have been a most suitable one, for Dick Drury 
was decidedly one of the eligibles. But her love was, 
alas ! forbidden, and marriage with a commoner not 
to be thought of. 

They stood together laughing merrily, he bright, 
pleasant, and all unconscious of her true station, while 
she, sweet and winning, stood gazing upon him, flushed 
with pleasure at his presence. 

I was describing to Drury the fright I had experienced 
on arrival in Brighton to find them both missing, 
whereupon he interrupted, saying : 

" I hope you will forgive us in the circumstances. 


Mr. Trewinnard. Miss Gottorp resolved to go into 
hiding until you returned to give her your advice. 
Therefore, with my aunt's kind assistance, we managed 
to disappear completely." 

" My advice is quickly given," I said. " After 
to-night there will be no danger, therefore return and 
relieve the anxiety of your friends." 

" But how can you guarantee there is no danger ? " 
asked the young man, looking at me dubiously. " I 
confess I'm at a loss to understand the true meaning of 
it all — wh3^ indeed, any danger should arise. Miss 
Gottorp is so mysterious, she will tell me nothing," he 
said in a voice of complaint. 

For a moment I was silent. 

" There was a danger, Drury — a real imminent 
danger," I said at last. " But I can assure you that 
it is now past. I have taken steps to remove it, and 
hope to-morrow morning to receive word by telegraph 
that it no longer exists." 

" How can you control it ? " he queried. " What is 
its true nature ? Tell me," he urged. 

" No, I regret that I cannot satisfy your curiosity. 
It is — well — it's a famil}- matter," I said ; " therefore 
forgive me if I refuse to betray a confidence reposed in 
me as a friend of the family. It would not be fair to 
reveal an^'thing told me in secrecy." 

" Of course not," he said. " I fuUy understand, Mr. 
Trewinnard. Forgive me for asking. I did not know 
that the matter was so entirely confidential." 

" It is. But I can assure you that, holding the key 
to the situation as I do, and being in a position to dictate 
terms to Miss Gottorp 's enemies, she need not in 
future entertain the slightest apprehension. The 
danger existed, I admit ; but now it is over." 

" Then you advise us to return. Uncle Colin ? " 
exclaimed the girl, swa3''ing herself upon the chair. 


" Yes — the day after to-morrow." 

" You are always so weirdly mysterious," she declared. 
" I know you have something at the back of your 
mind. Come, admit it." 

" I have only your welfare at heart," I assured her, 

" Welfare ! " she echoed, and as her eyes fixed them- 
selves upon me she bit her lips. I knew, alas ! the 
bitter trend of her thoughts. But her lover stood by, 
all unconscious of the blow which must ere long fall 
upon him, poor fellow. I pitied him, for I knew how 
much he was doomed to suffer, loving her so fondly and 
so well. He, of course, believed her to be a girl of 
similar social position to himself — a dainty little frien(3 
whom he had first met as a rather gawky schoolgirl at 
Eastbourne, and their friendship had now ripened to 

" I feel that you, Mr. Trewinnard, really have our 
welfare at heart," declared the young man earnestly. 
"I know in what very high esteem Miss Gottorp holds you, 
and how she has been awaiting your aid and advice." 

" I am her friend, Drury, as I am yours," I declared. 
" I am aware that you love each other. I loved once, 
just as deeply, as fervently as you do. Therefore — I 

" But we cannot go south — back to Brighton," the 
girl declared. " I refuse." 

" Why ? " he asked. " Mr. Trewinnard has given 
us the best advice. You need not now fear these 
mysterious enemies of yours who seem to haunt you 
so constantly." 

" Ah ! " she cried in a low, wild voice, " you do not 
know, Dick ! You don't know the truth — all that I 
fear — all that I suffer — for — for your sake ! Uncle 
Colin knows." 

" For my sake ! " he echoed, staring at her. " I 
don't quite follow you. What do you mean ? " 


" I mean," she exclaimed in a low, hoarse voice, 
drawing herself up and standing erect, " I mean that 
you do not know what Uncle Colin is endeavouring to 
induce me to do — you do not reaUze the true tragedy 
of my position." 

" No, I don't," was his blunt response, his eyes wide 
open in surprise. 

" Oh, Dick," she cried in despair, her voice trembUng 
with emotion, " he speaks the truth when he urges me 
for my own sake to go south — to return again to Hove. 
But, alas ! if I followed his advice, sound though it is, 
it would mean that — that to-morrow we should part 
for ever ! " 

" Part ! " gasped the young man, his face becoming 
white in an instant. " Why ? " 

" Because — well, simply because all affection between 
us is forbidden," she faltered in a hoarse, half whisper, 
her beautiful face ashen pale, " because — " she gasped, 
still clinging to the back of the chintz-covered chair, 
*' because, although we love each other as passionately 
and as dearly as we do, we can never marry — never ! 
Between us there exists a barrier — a barrier strong but 
invisible, that can never be broken — never — until the 
grave ! " 



With Her Highness's permission I had despatched a 
reassuring telegram in the private cipher to the Emperor 
prefLxed by the word " Bathildis " — a message which, 
I think, greatly puzzled the local postmaster at Loch- 
eamhead. Another I had sent to Miss West, and then 
returned to the small hotel at the loch-side where I 
intended to spend the night. 


I had left the pair together, and strolled out across 
the lawn. Of what happened aftervv'ards I was in 
ignorance. The girl had come in search of me a quarter 
of an hour later, pale, trembling and tearful, and in a 
broken voice told me that they had parted. 

I took her soft little hand, and looking straight into 
her eyes asked : 

" Does he know the truth ? " 

She shook her head slowly in the negative. 

" I — I have resolved to return to Russia," she said 
simply, in a faltering voice. 

" To see the Emperor ? " I asked eagerly. " To tell 
him the truth — eh ? " 

Her white lips were compressed. She only drew a 
long, deep breath. 

" Dick has gone," she said at last, in a strange, 
dreamy voice. " And — and I must go back again to 
all the horrible dreariness and formality of the life to 
which, I suppose, I was bom. Ah ! Uncle Colin — I 
— I can't tell you how I feel. My happiness is all at an 
end — for ever." 

"Come, come," I said, placing my hand tenderly 
upon the girl's shoulder. " You will go back to Peters- 
burg — and you will learn to forget. We all of us have 
similar disappointments, similar sorrows. I, too, have 
had mine." 

But she only shook her head, bursting into tears as 
she slowly disengaged herself from me. 

Then, with head sunk upon her chest in blank despair 
and sobbing bitterly, she turned from me, and in th^ 
clear, crimson afterglow, went slowly back up the garden- 
path to the house. 

I stood gazing upon her slim, dejected figure until 
it was lost around the bend of the laurels. Then I 
retraced my steps towards the little lake-side village. 

At ten o'clock that night, while writing a letter in 


the small hotel sitting-room, Richard Dniry was 
shown in. 

His face was paler than usual, hard and set. 

He apologized for disturbing me at that hour, but 
I offered him a chair and handed him my cigarette- 
case. His boots were very dusty, I noticed ; therefore 
I surmised that since leaving his well-beloved he had 
been tramping the roads. 

" I am much puzzled, Mr. Trewinnard," he blurted 
forth a moment later. " Miss Gottorp has suddenly 
sent me from her and refused to see me again." 

" That is to be much regretted," I said. " Before 
I left I heard her declare that there were certain cir- 
cumstances which rendered it impossible for you to 
marry. I therefore know that your interview this 
evening must have been a painful one." 

" Painful ! " he echoed wildly. " I love her, Mr. 
Trewinnard ! I confess it to you, because you are her 
friend, and mine." 

" I honestly believe you do, Drury. But," I sighed, 
" yours is, I fear, an unfortunate — a very unfortunate 

I was debating within myself whether or not it were 
wise to reveal to him Natalia's identity. Surely no 
good could now accrue from further secrecy, especiall}^ 
as she had resolved to return at once to Russia. 

I saw how agitated the poor fellow was, and how 
deep and fervent was his affection for the girl who, 
after all, was sacrificing her great love to perform a 
duty to her oppressed nation and to avenge the lives 
of thousands of her innocent compatriots. 

"Yes. I know that my affection for her is an 
unfortunate one," he said, in a thick voice. " She 
has talked strangely about this barrier between us, and 
how that marriage is not permitted to her. It is all 
so mysterious, so utterly incomprehensible, Mr. Trewin. 


nard. She is concealing something. She has some 
secret, and I feel sure that you, as an intimate friend of 
her family, are aware of it." Then after a slight pause 
he grew calm and, looking me straight in the face, 
asked : " May I not know it ? Will you not tell me 
the truth ? " 

" Wliy should I, Drun*, when the truth must only 
cause you pain ? " I queried. " You have suffered 
enough already. WTiy not go away and forget ? Time 
heals most broken hearts." 

" It will never heal mine," he declared, adding : 
" Her words this evening have greatly puzzled me. I 
cannot see why we may not marr}'. She has no parents, 
I understand.^ Yet how is it that she seems eternally 
watche(i by certain suspicious-looking foreigners ? Why 
is her life— and even mine — threatened as it is ? " 

For a few moments I did not speak. My eyes were 
fixed upon his strong, handsome face, tanned as it v.-as 
by healthy exercise. 

" " If you wish to add to your grief by ascertaining 
the truth, Drury, I will tell you," I said quietly. 

" Yes," he cried. " Tell me — I can bear anything 
now. Tell me why she refuses any longer to allow me 
at her side — I who love her so devotedly." 

" Her decision is only a just one," I replied. " It 
must cause you deep grief, I know, but it is better for 
you to be made aware of the truth at once, for she knew 
that a great and poignant sorrow must faU upon you 
both one day." 

" Why ? " he asked, still p'jzzled and leaning in his 
chair towards me. 

" Because the woman you love — whom you know- 
as Miss Gottorp — has never yet revealed her true 
identity to you." 

"Ah ! I see ! " he cried, starting to his feet. " I guess 
what you are going to say. She— she is already married ! " 


" No." 

" Thank God for that ! " he gasped. " Well, tell 

Again I paused, my eyes fixed steadily upon his. 

" Her true name is not Gottorp. She is Her Imperial 
Higliness the Grand Duchess Natalia Olga Nicolaievna 
of Russia, niece of His Majesty the Emperor ! " 

The man before me stared at me with open mouth 
in blank amazement. 

" The Grand Duchess Natalia ! " he echoed. 
" Impossible ! " 

" It is true," I went on. " At Eastbourne, in her 
school-days, she was known as Miss Gottorp — which is 
one of the family names of the Imperial Romanoffs — 
and on her return to Brighton she resumed that name. 
The suspicious-looking foreigners who have puzzled you 
,by haunting her so continuously are agents of Russian 
police, attached to her for her personal protection ; 
while the threats against her have emanated from the 
Revolutionary' Party. And," I added, " you can surely 
now see the existence of the barrier between you — you 
can discern why, at last, foreseeing tragedy in her love 
for you, Her Highness has summoned courage and, even 
though it has broken her heart, has resolved to part 
from you in order to spare you further anxiety and 

For some monents he did not speak. 

" Her family have discovered her friendship, I sup- 
pose," he murmured at last, in a low, despairing voice. 

" Her family have not influenced her in the leaist," 
I assured him. " She told me the truth that she 
could not deceive you any longer, or allow you to build 
up false hopes, knowing as she did that you could never 
become her husband." 

" Ah ! my God ! all this is cruel, Mr. Trewinnard ! " 
he burst forth, with clenched hands. "I have all 


along believed her to be a girl of the upper middle- 
class, like myself. I never dreamed of her real rank 
or birth which precluded her from becoming my wife 1 
But I see it all now — I see how — how utterly impossible 
it is for me to think of marriage with Her Imperial 
Highness. I — I " 

He could not finish his sentence. He stretched out 
his strong hand to me, and in a broken breath murmured 
a word of thanks. 

In his kind, manly eyes I saw the bright light of 
unshed tears. His voice was choked by emotion as, 
turning upon his heel, poor feUow ! he abruptly left 
the room, crushed beneath the heav^' blow which had 
so suddenly fallen upon him. 



Colonel Paul Polivanoff, Marshal of the Imperial 
Court, gorgeous in his pale blue and gold uniform of 
the Nijni-Xovgorod Dragoons, \\ith many decorations, 
tapped at the white enameUed steel door of His Majesty's 
private cabinet in the Palace of Tzarskoie-Selo, and then 
entered, announcing in French : 

" Her Imperial Highness the Grand Duchess Nat aha 
and M'sieur Colin Trewinnard." 

Nine days had passed since that parting of the lovers 
at Locheamhead, and now, as w^e stood upon the threshold 
of the bomb-proof chamber, I knew that our \dsit there 
in company was to be a momentous event in the history 
of modem Russia. 

As we entered, the Emperor, who had been busy 
with the pile of State documents upon his table, rose, 
settled the hang of his sword — for he was in a dark 



green militan' uniform, with the double-headed eagle 
of Saint Wndrew in diamonds at his throat — and turned 
to meet us. 

Towards me His Majesty extended a cordial wel- 
come, but I could plainly detect that his niece's presence 
caused him displeasure. 

" So you are back again in Russia — eh, Tattie ? " 
he snapped in French, speaking in that language instead 
of Russian because of my presence. " It seems that 
during your absence you have been guilty of some 
ver}' grave indiscretions and more than one scandalous 
escapade — eh ? " 

" I am here to explain to Your Majesty," the girl 
said quite calmly, and looking very pale and sweet in 
her half-mourning. 

" Trewinnard has furnished me wdth reports," he 
said hastily, motioning her to a chair. " What 3^ou 
have to say, please say quickty, as I have much to do 
and am lea\dng for Moscow to-nigi^fe Be seated." 

" I am here for two reasons," she said, seating her- 
self opposite to where he had sunk back into his big 
padded writing-chair, " to explain what you are pleased 
to term my conduct, and also to place your Majesty in 
possession of certain facts which have been very care- 
fully hidden from 3^ou." 

" Another plot — eh ? " he snapped. " There are 
plots ever}'where just now." 

" A plot — yes — but not a revolutionarv' one," was 
her answer. 

" Leave such things to Markoff or to Hart wig. They 
are not women's business," he cried impatiently. 
" Rather explain your conduct in England. From 
what I hear, you have so far forgotten what is due to 
your rank and station as to fall in love with some com- 
moner ! Markoff made a long report about it the other 
day. I have it somewhere/' ajid he glanced back upon 


his littered table, whereon lay piled the affairs of a great 
and powerful Empire. 

Her cheeks flushed slightly, and I saw that her white- 
gloved hand twitched nervously. We had travelled 
together from Petersburg, and upon the journey she 
had been silent and thoughtful, bracing herself up for 
an ordeal. 

" I care not a jot for any report of General Markoff's," 
she replied boldly. " Indeed, it was mainly to speak 
of him that I have asked for audience to-day." 

" To tell me something against him, I suppose, just 
because he has discovered your escapades in England — 
because he has dared to tell me the truth — eh, Tattie ? " 
he said, with a dry laugh. " So like a woman ! " 

" If he has told you the truth about me, then' it is the 
first time he has ever told Your Majesty the truth," 
she said, looking straight at the Emperor. 

The Sovereign glanced first at her with quick sur- 
prise and then at myself. 

" Her Imperial Highness has something to report to 
Your Majesty, something of a very grave and important 
nature," I ventured to remark. 

" Eh ? Eh ? " asked the big bearded man, in his 
quick, impetuous way. " Something grave — eh ? 
Well, Tattie, what is it 1 " 

The girl, pale and agitated, held her breath for a few 
moments. Then she said : 

" I know, uncle, that you consider me a giddy, in- 
corrigible flirt. Perhaps I am. But, nevertheless, I 
am in possession of a secret — a secret which, as it affects 
the welfare of the nation and of the dynasty, it is, I 
consider, my duty to reveal to you." 

" Ah ! Revolutionists again ! " 

" I beg of you to listen, uncle, " she urged. " I 
have several more serious matters to place before 


" Very well," he replied, smiling as though humouring 
her. " I am listening. Only pray be brief, won't you?" 

" You will recollect the attempt planned to be made 
in the Nevski on the early morning of our arrival from 
the Crimea, and in connection with that plot a lady, a 
friend of mine and of Mr. Trewinnard's, named Madame 
de Rosen, and her daughter Luba were arrested and 
sent by administrative process to Siberia ? " 

" Certainly. Trewinnard went recently on a quixotic 
mission to the distressed ladies," he laughed. " But 
why, my dear child, refer to them further ? They were 
conspirators, and I really have no interest in their wel- 
fare. The elder woman is, I understand, dead." 

" Yes," the Grand Duchess cried fiercely ; " killed 
by exposure, at the orders of General Serge Markoff." 

" Oh ! " he exclaimed, " then you have come here to 
denounce poor Markoff as an assassin — eh ? This is 
really most interesting." 

"What I have to relate to Your Majesty \\ill, , I 
believe, be found of considerable interest," she said, 
now quite calm and determined. " True, I have 
charged Serge Markoff with the illegal arrest and the 
subsequent death of an innocent woman. It is for me 
now to prove it." 

" Certainly," said His Imperial Majesty, settling him- 
self in his big chair, and placing the tips of his strong 
white fingers together in an attitude of listening. 

" Then I wish to reveal to you a few facts concerning 
this man who wields such wide and autocratic power in 
our Russia — this man who is the real oppressor of our 
nation, and who is so cleverly misleading and terroriz- 
ing its ruler." 

" Tattie ! What are you saying ? " 

" You will learn when I have finished," she said. " I 
am only a girl, I admit, but I know the truth — the scan- 
dalous truth — how you, the Emperor, are daily deceived 


and made a catspaw by your clever and unscrupulous 
Chief of Secret Police." 

" Speak. I am all attention/' he said, his brows 

" I have referred to poor Marya de Rosen," said the 
girl, leaning her elbow upon the arm of the chair 
and looking straight into her uncle's face. " If the 
truth be told, Marya and Serge Markoff had been ac- 
quainted for a very long time. Two years after the 
death of her husband, Felix de Rosen, the wealthy 
banker of Odessa and Warsaw, Serge Markoff, in order 
to obtain her money, married her." 

" Married her ! " echoed the Emperor in a loud voice. 
" Can you prove this ? " 

" Yes. Three years ago, when I was living \Wth my 
father in Paris, I went alone one morning to the Russian 
Church in the Rue Daru, where, to my utter amaze- 
ment, I found a quiet marriage-service in progress. 
The contracting parties were none other than General 
Markoff and the widow, Madame de Rosen. Beyond 
the priest and the sacristan, I was the only person in 
possession of the truth. They both returned to Peters- 
burg next day, but agreed to keep their marriage secret, 
as the General was cunning enough to know that mar- 
riage would probably interfere with his advancement 
and probably cause Your Majesty displeasure." 

" I had. no idea of it !" he remarked, much surprised. 

" Marya de Rosen — or Madame Markoff, as she really 
w^as — frequently went to her husband's house, but always 
clandestinely and unknown to Luba, who had no sus- 
picion of the truth," the girl went on. " According to 
the story told to me by Marya herself, a strange incident 
occurred at the General's house one evening. She had 
called there and been admitted, by the side entrance; 
by a confidential servant, and was awaiting the return 
of the General, who was having audience at the Winter 


Palace. While sitting alone, a young woman of the 
middle-class— probably an art-student — was ushered 
into the room by another servant, who beheved Marya 
was awaiting formal audience of His Excellency. The 
girl was highly excited and h3-sterical, and finding Marya 
alone, at once broke out in terrible invective against 
the General. Marya naturally took Markoff's part, 
whereupon the girl began to make all sorts of charges 
of conspiracy, and even murder, against him — charges 
which Marya declared to the girl's face were lies. 

" Suddenty, however, the girl plunged her hand deep 
into the pocket of her skirt and produced three letters, 
which, with a mocking laugh, she urged Marya to read 
and then to judge His Excellency accordingly. Mean- 
while, the manservant, having heard the girl's voice 
raised excitedl}^ entered and promptly ejected her, 
leaving the letters in Marya's hands. She opened them. 
They were all in Serge Markoff's own handwriting, and 
were addressed to a certain man named Danilo Danilo- 
\dtch, once a shoemaker at Kazan, and now, in secret, 
the leader of the Revolutionary Party. 

" From the first of these Marya saw that it was quite 
plain that the General — the man in whom Your Majesty 
places such implicit faith — had actually bribed the man 
with five thousand roubles and a promise of police pro- 
tection to assassinate Your Majesty's brother, the Grand 
Duke Peter Michailovitch, from whom he feared ex- 
posure, as he had been shrewd enough to discover his 
double dealing and the peculation of the public funds of 
which Markoff had been guilty while holding the office 
of Governor of Kazan. Six days after that letter," 
Her Highness added in a hard, clear voice, " my poor 
Uncle Peter was shot dead by an unknown hand while 
emerging from the Opera House in Warsaw." 

" Ah ! I remember ! " exclaimed His Majesty 
hoarsely, for the Grand Duke Peter was his favourite 


brother, and his assassination had caused him the most 
profound grief. 

" Of the other two letters — all of them having been 
in my possession," Her Highness went on, " one was a 
brief note, appointing a meeting for the following even- 
ing at a house near the Peterhof Station, in Petersburg, 
while the third contained a most amazing confession. 
In the course of it General Markoff wrote words to the 
following effect : ' You and your chicken-hearted friends 
are utterly useless to me. I was present and watched 
you. When he entered the theatre you and your 
wretched friends were afraid — you failed me ! You 
call yourself Revolutionists — you, all of you, are 
without the courage of a mouse ! I thought better of 
vou. When you failed so ignominiously, I waited — 
waited until he came out. \Vhere you failed, I was 
fortunately successful. He fell at the first shot. 
Arrests w^re, of course, necessar^^ Some of your 
cowardly friends deserve all the punishment they will 
get. Forty-six have been arrested to-day. Meet me 
to-morrow at eight p.m. at the usual rendezvous. You 
shall have the money all the same, though you 
certainly do not deserve it. Destro}' this.' " 

" Where is that letter ? " demanded His Majesty 

" It has unfortunatety been destroyed — destroyed 
b}^ its writer. Marya was aghast at these revelations 
of her husband's treachery and double-dealing, for 
while Chief of Secret Police and Your Majesty's most 
trusted adviser he was actually aiding and abetting the 
Revolutionists ! She placed the letters which had so 
opportunely come into her possession into her pocket, 
and said nothing to Markoff when he returned. But 
from that moment she distrusted him, and saw how 
ingenious and cunning were his dealings wdth both your- 
self and with the leader of the Revolutionists. He, 


assisted by his catspaw, Danilo Danilovitch, formed 
desperate plots for the mere purpose of making whole 
sale arrests, and thus showing you how active and astute 
he was. Danilo Danilovitch — who, as ' The One,' the 
leader whose actual identity is unknown by those poor 
deluded wretches who believe they can effect a change 
in Russia by means of bombs — is as cunning and crafty 
as his master. It was he who threw the bomb at our 
carriage and who killed my poor dear father. He " 

" How can you prove that ? " demanded the Em- 
peror quickly. 

" I myself saw him throw the bomb," I said, inter- 
rupting. " The outrage was committed at Markoff' s 

" Impossible ! Wh}^ do 3'ou allege this, Trewinnard ? 
What motive could Markoff have in killing the Grand 
Duke Nicholas ? " 

" The same that he had in ordering the arrest and 
banishment of his own wife and her daughter," was my 
reply. " Her Highness will make further explanation." 

" The motive was simply this," went on the girl, still 
speaking with great calmness and determination. " A 
few days before I left with Your Majesty on the tour of 
the Empire, I called upon Marya de Rosen to wish her 
good-bye. On that occasion she gave me the three 
letters in question — which had apparently been 
stolen from Danilovitch by the girl who had handed 
them to her. Marya told me that she feared lest her 
husband, when he knew they were in her possession, 
might order a domiciUary visit for the purpose of 
securing possession of them. Therefore she begged me, 
after she had shown me the contents and bound me to 
strictest silence, to conceal them. This I did. 

" Wtnle we were absent in the south nothing tran- 
spired, but Danilovitch had arranged an attempt in the 
Nevski on the morning of our return to Petersburg 


The plot was discovered at the eleventh hour, as usual, 
and among those arrested was Madame de Rosen and 
Luba. Why ? Because Your Majesty's favourite. 
Serge Markoff, having discovered that the incriminating 
letters had been handed to his wife, knew that she, and 
probably Luba, were aware of his secret. He feared 
that the evidence of his crime might have passed into 
other hands, and dreading lest his wife should betray 
him, he ordered her arrest as a dangerous political. 
After her arrest he saw her, and, hoping for her release, 
she explained how she had handed the letters to me 
for safe keeping, and confessed that I was aware of the 
shameful truth. She was not, however, released, but 
sent to her grave. For that same reason Markoff 
ordered his agent Danilovitch to throw the bomb at 
the carriage in which I was riding with m\- poor father 
and Mr. Trewinnard." 

" But I really cannot give credence to all tliis ! " ex- 
claimed the Emperor, who had risen again and was 
standing near the window which looked out upon the 
courtyard of the palace, whence came the sound of 
soldiers drilling and distant bugle-calls. 

" Presently Your Majesty shall be given a complete 
proof," his niece responded. " Danilovitch has con- 
fessed. At Markoff' s orders — which he was compelled 
to carry out, fearing that if he refused the all-powerful 
Chief of Secret Police would betray him to his comrades 
as a spy — he, at imminent risk of being shot by the 
sentries, visited our palace on four occasions, and suc- 
ceeded at last, after long searches, in discovering the 
letters where I had hidden them for safety in my old 
nursery, and, securing them, he handed them back to 
his master." 

"Then this Danilovitch is a Revolutionist paid by 
Markoff to perform his dirty work — eh ? " asked the 
Emperor angrily. 



" He is paid, and paid well, to organize conspiracies 
against Your Majesty's person," I interrupted. " The 
majority of the plots of the past three years have been 
suggested by Markoff himself, and arranged by Danilo- 
vitch, who finds it very easy to beguile numbers of his 
poor deluded comrades into believing that the revolu- 
tion will bring about freedom in Russia. A hst of these 
he furnishes to Markoff before each attempt is discovered, 
hence the astute Chief of Secret Police is alwa3^s able to 
put his hand upon the conspirators and to furnish a 
satisfactory report to Your Majesty, for which he re- 
ceives commendation." 

" Apparently a unique arrangement," remarked the 
sovereign reflectively. 

" In order to close the lips of Madame de Rosen, he 
contrived that she should receive such brutal and in- 
human treatment that she died of the effects of cold, 
hardship and exposure," I went on. " One of Markoff's 
agents made a desperate attempt upon myself while in 
Siberia, fearing that Her Highness had revealed the 
truth to me, and well knowing that I was -aware of Danilo- 
vitch's true metier. The attempt fortunately failed, 
as did another recently formed by Danilovitch iii London 
at Markoff's orders. Therefore " 

" But this Danilovitch ! " interrupted His Majesty, 
turning to me. " Has he actually confessed to 
you ? " 

" He has. Sire," I repUed. " The sole reason of my 
journey to Yakutsk was in order to see Marya de Rosen 
on Her Highness's behalf and obtain permission for her 
to speak and reveal to Your Majesty all that the Grand 
Duchess has now told you. Her Highness had pro- 
mised strictest secrecy to her friend, but now that the 
lady is dead I have at last induced her to speak in the 
personal -interests of Your Majesty, as well as in the 
interests of the whole nation." 


*' Yes, yes, I quite understand," said His Majesty 
very gravely. 

" By returning here, by abandoning my incog^tita, I 
—I have been compelled to sacrifice my love," declared 
the girl in a low, faltering voice, her cheeks blanched, 
her mouth drawn hard, and her fine eyes filled with 

" Ah ! Tattie ! If what you have revealed to me be 
true, then the reason of Markoff' s unsatisfactory reports 
concerning, you is quite apparent," His Majesty said, 
slowly folding his arms as he stood in thought, a fine 
commanding figure with the jewelled double eagle at 
his throat flashing with a thousand fires. 

" And so, Trewinnard," he added, turning to me, 
" all this is the reason why, more than once, you have 
given me those mysterious hints which have set me 

" Yes, Sire," I replied. " You have been blinded by 
these clever adventurers surrounding you — that circle 
which, headed by Serge Markoff, is always so careful to 
prevent you from learning the truth. The intrigue they 
practise is most ingenious and far-reaching, ever securing 
their own advancement with fat emoluments at the 
expense of the oppressed nation. Their basic principle 
is to terrorize you — to keep the bogy of revolution con- 
stantly before Your Majesty, to discover plots, and by 
administrative process to send hundreds, nay thousands, 
into exile in those far-off Arctic wastes, or fill the prisons 
with suspects, more than two-thirds of whom are inno- 
cent, loyal and' law-abiding citizens." 

He turned suddenly and, pale with anger, struck his 
fist upon his table. 

" There shall be no more exile by administrative 
process ! " he cried, and seating himself, he drew a sheet 
of official paper before hun, and for a few moments his 
quill squeaked rapidly over the paper. 



Thus he wrote the ukase abolishing exile by adminis- 
trative process — that law which the camarilla had so 
abused — and signed it with a flourish of his pen. 

The first reform in Russia — a reform which meant 
the yearly saving of thousands of innocent lives, the 
preservation of the sanctity of every home throughout 
the great Empire, and which guaranteed to everyone 
in future, suspect or known criminal or Revolutionist, 
a fair and open trial — had been achieved. 

Surely the little Grand Duchess, the madcap of the 
Romanoffs, had not sacrificed her great love in vain, 
even though while that Imperial ukase was being written 
she sat with bitter tears roUing slowly do\\Ti her white 



A DEAD silence fell in that small, business-like room, 
wherein the monarch, the hardest-working man in the 
Empire, transacted the comphcated business of the 
great Russian nation. 

Outside could be heard a sharp word of command, 
followed by the heavy tramp of soldiers and the roU of 
drums. The sentries were changing guard. 

Slowly — ver}^ slowly — His Majesty placed a sheet of 
blotting-paper over the document he had written, and 
then turning to the tearful girl, asked : 

" Will not this individual, Danilo Danilovitch, fur- 
nish me with proofs ? He is a Revolutionist, yet that 
is no reason why I should not see him. From what you 
tell me, Markoff holds him in his power by constantly 
threatening to betray him to his comrades as a police- 
spy. I must see him. Where is he ? " 

" He has accompanied us from London, Your Majesfy," 


was my reply. " I had some difficulty in assuring him 
that he would obtain justice at Your Majesty's hands." 

" He is an assassin. He" killed my brother Nicholas ; 
yet it seems — if what you tell me be true — that Markoff 
compelled him to commit this crime." 

" Without a doubt," was my reply. 

" Then, Revolutionist or not, I will see him," and he 
touched the electric button placed in the side of his 

A sentry appeared instantly, and at my suggestion 
His Majesty permitted me to go down the long corridor, 
at the end of which the dark, thin-faced man, in a rather 
shabby black suit, was sitting in a small ante-room, 
outside which stood a tall, statuesque Cossack sentry. 

A few words of explanation, and somewhat reluc- 
tantly Daniloxitch rose and followed me into the 
presence of the man he was ever plotting to kill. 

The Emperor received liim most graciously ,and 
ordered him to be seated, saying : 

" My niece here and Mr. Trewinnard have been 
speaking of you, Danilo Danilovitch, and have told me 
certain astounding things." 

The man looked up at his Sovereign, pale and 
frightened, and His Majesty, realizing this, at once put 
him at his ease by adding : " I know that, in secret, you 
are the mysterious ' One ' who directs the revolutionary 
movement throughout the Empire, and the constant 
conspiracies directed against my own person. Well," 
he laughed, " I hope, Danilovitch, you will not find me 
so terrible as you have been led to expect, and, further, 
that when you leave here you will think a little better 
of the man whose duty it is to rule the Russian nation 
than you hitherto have done. Now," he asked, looking 
straight at the man, " are you prepared to speak with 
me openly and frankly, as I am prepared to speak to 
you ? " 


" I am, Your Majest}'," he said. 

" Then answer me a few questions," urged the Im- 
perial autocrat. " First, tell me whether these constant 
conspiracies against myself — these plots for which so 
many hundreds are being banished to Siberia — are 
genuine ones formed by those who really desire to take 
my life ? " 

" No, Sire," was the answer. " The last genuine plot 
v/as the one in Samara, nearly two years ago. Your 
Majesty escaped only by a few seconds." 

" When the railway line was blo\\Ti up just outside 
the station ; I remember," said the Emperor, with a 
grim smile. " Four of 3'our fellow-conspirators were 
killed by their own explosives." 

" That was the last genuine plot. All the recent 
ones have been suggested by General T\Iarkoff, head of 
the Secret Police." 

" With your a.ssistance ? " 

The man nodded in the affirm.ative. 

" Then you betray }'our fellow-conspirators for pa\'- 
ment- — eh ? " 

" Because I am compelled. I, alas ! took a false 
step once, and His Excellency the General has taken 
advantage of it ever since. He forces me to act accord- 
ing to his wishes, to conspire, to betray — to m.urder if 
necessity arises — because he knows how I dread the 
truth becoming knowTi to the secret revolutionary com- 
mittee, and how I fully reahze the terrible fate which 
must befall me if the actual facts were ever revealed. 
The Terrorists entertain no sympath}' wdth their be- 
trayer." ^& 

" I quite understand that," remarked the Sovereign. 
And then, in gracious w^ords, he closely questioned him 
r-ega.rding the assassination of the Grand Duke Peter 
outside the Opera House in Warsaw, and heard the ghastly 
troth of Markoff's crime from the \ritness's o\^ti ]ips. 


" I read the letters which I secured from the Palace 
of the Grand Duke Nicholas," he admitted. " They 
were to the same effect as Your Majesty has said. I a 
one of them His Excellency the General confessed his 

" You threw the bomb which killed my brother, tlie 
Grand Duke Nicholas ? " 

" It was intended to kill Her Highness the Grand 
Duchess," and he indicated Natalia, " and also the 
EngHshman, Mr. Trewinnard. The General was plot- 
ting the death of both of them, fearing that they knew 
his secret." 

" And in England there was another conspiracy 
against them — eh ? " 

'■' Yes," replied the man knowTi as the Shoemaker of 
Kazan. " But Mr. Trewinnard and the Chief of Crimi- 
nal Police, Ivan Hartwig, discovered me, and dared me 
to commit the outrage on pain of betrayal to my friends. 
Hence I have been between two stools — compelled by 
Markoff and defied by Hartwig. At last, in desperation, 
I sent an anonymous letter to Her Highness warning her, 
with the fortunate result that both she and her lover — 
a young Englishman named Drur^' — disappeared, and 
even the Secret Police were unable to discover their 
whereabouts. I did so in order to gain time, for I had 
no motive in taking H jr Highness's life, although if I 
refused to act I kncv wnat the result must inevitably be." 

" All this astounds me," declared the Emperor. " I 
never dreamed that I was being thus misled, or that 
Markoff was acting with such cunning and unscrupulous- 
ness against the interests of the dynasty and the nation, 
I see the true situation. You, Danilo Danilovitch, are 
a Revolutionist — not by conviction, but because of the 
drastic action of the Secret PoUce, the real rulers of 
Russia. Therefore, read that," and he took from his 
table the Imperial ukase and handed it to him. 


When he had read it he returned it to the Emperor's 
hand, and murmured : 

" Thank God ! All Russia will praise Your Majesty 
for your clemenc3\ It is the reform for which we have 
been craving for the past twenty years — fair trial, and 
after conviction a just punishment. But we have, 
alas ! only had arrest and prompt banishment without 
trial. Every man and woman in Russia has hitherto 
been at the mercy of any police-spy or any secret enemy." 

" My only wdsh is to give justice to the nation," de- 
clared the Sovereign, his dark, thoughtful eyes turned 
upon the dynamitard whose word was law to every 
Terrorist from Archangel to Odessa, and from Wirballen 
to Ekaterinburg. 

'' And, Sire, on behalf of the Party of the People's 
Will I beg to thank you for granting it to us," said 
the man, whose keen, highly-intelligent face was now 
slightly flushed. 

"" What I have heard to-day from my niece's lips, 
from Mr. Trewdnnard and from yourself, has caused the 
gravest thoughts to arise within me," His Majesty de- 
clared after a slight pause. " Injustice has, I see, been 
done on every hand, and the Secret PoHce has been 
administered by one who, it seems, is admittedly an 
assassin. It is now for me to remedy that — and to do so 
by drastic measures." 

"And the whole nation wall praise Your Majesty," 
Danilovitch rephed. "I am a Revolutionist, it is true, 
but I have been forced — forced against my wiU — to 
formulate these false plots for the corrupt Secret Police 
to unearth. I declare most solemnly to Your Majesty 
that my position as leader of this Party and at the same 
time an agent-provocateur has been a source of constant 
danger and hourly terror. In order to hide my secret, 
I was unfortunately compelled to commit murder — to 
kill the woman I loved. She discovered the truth, and 


would have exposed me to the vengeance which the 
Party never fails to mete out to its betra3'ers. Markoff 
had given me my liberty and immunity from arrest in 
exchange for my services to him. He held me in his 
power, body and soul, and, because of that, I was forced 
to strike down the woman I loved," he added, with a 

catch in his voice. " And — and " he said, standing 

before the Emperor, " I crave Your Majesty's clemency. 
I — I crave a pardon for that act for which I have ever 
been truly penitent." 

" A pardon is granted," was the reply in a firm, deep 
voice. " You killed my brother Nicholas under com- 
pulsion. But on account of your open confession and 
the service rendered to me by these revelations, I must 
forgive you. I see that your actions have, all along, 
been controlled by Serge Markoff. Now," he added, 
" what more can you tell me regarding this malad- 
mmistration of the police ? " 

Danilovitch threw himself upon his knees and kissed 
the Emperor's hand, thanking him deeply and de- 
claring that he would never take any further part in 
the revolutionary movement in the future, but exercise 
all his influence to crush and stamp it out. 

Then, when he had risen again to his feet, he ad- 
dressed His Majesty, saying : 

" The Secret Police, as at present organized, manu- 
facture revolutionaries. I was a loyal, law-abiding 
Russian before the police arrested my brother and my 
wife illegally, and sent them to Siberia without trial. 
Then I rose, like thousands of others have done, and fell 
into the trap which Markoff 's agents so cleverly prepared. 
No one has been safe from arrest in Russia " 

" Until to-day," the Emperor interrupted. " The 
ukase I have written is the law of the Empire from this 

" Ah ! God be thanked ! " cried the man, placing his 


hands together fervently. " Probably no man can 
tell the many crimes and injustices for which General 
Markoff has been responsible. You want to know some 
of them — some within my own knowledge," he went on. 
" Well, he was responsible for the great plot in Moscow 
a year ago when the little Tzarevitch so narrowly escaped. 
Seventeen people were killed and twenty-three were 
injured by the six bombs which were thrown, and 
nearly one hundred innocent persons were sent to 
Schusselburg or to Siberia in consequence." 

" Did \'ou formulate that plot ? " the Emperor asked. 

" I did. Also at ^larkoff's orders the one at Nikolaiev 
where the 3'oung woman. Vera Vogel, shot the Governor- 
General of Kherson and two of his Cossacks. Again at 
Markoff' s demand, I formed the plot whereby, near 
Tchirskaia, the bridge over the Don was blown up ; 
fortunately just before Your Majesty's train reached it. 
It was I who pressed the electrical contact — I pressed 
it purposely a few moments too quickly, as I was deter- 
mined not to be the cause of that wholesale loss of life 
which must have resulted had the train fallen into the 
river. Another attempt was the Zuroff affair, when' an 
infernal machine charged with nitro-glycerine was not 
long ago actuall}' found within the Winter Palace — 
placed there by an unkno^\-n hand in order to terrify 
Your Majesty. But I tell you the hand that placed it 
where it was found was that of Serge Markoff himself — 
the same hand which killed His Imperial Highness the 
Grand Duke Peter in order to prevent His Highness 
telling Your Majesty certain ugly truths which he had 
accidently discovered. And," he went on, " there were 
many other conspiracies of various kinds conceived for 
the sole purpose of keeping the Empire ever in a state of 
unrest and the arrest of hundreds of the innocent of 
both sexes. Indeed, explosives — picric acid, nitro- 
glycerine, melinite and cordite — were supplied to us 


frnm a secret source. Sometimes, too, when I furnished 
aTiS of sav ten or a dozen of those implicated m a pW, 
?1 e police^ould arrest them with probably thirty others 
besides people taken haphazard in the streets or m t he 
houses Whole families have been banished men 
Sged from their wives, women from their husbands 
and children, and though innocent were consigned to 
those te^ble oubliettes beneath the level of the lake at 
Schusselburg, or in the Fortress of Peter and Paul. To 
adeSy describe aU the fierce brutality, the gross 
Ljul&e a'nd the ingenious plots conceived and financed 
bv Serge Markoff would be impossible. I only speak 
of thosf in which I, as his unwiUing catspaw, have been 

™Her ffighness and myself had listened to this amazing 
confession without uttering a word. 

The Emperor, intensely interested m the man s stor^ , 
put to him manv questions, some concerning the demands 
of the Party bf the People's Will, others m which he 
requested further details concerning Markoff's crimes 
against persons, and against the State. 
^^' This'^man in whom' for years I have placed such 
impUcit confidence has plaved me false ! cned the 
ruler presentlv, his face pale as he struck the table 
tocely in l^s'a^ger. " He has plotted with the Terror- 
Ss against me f He has been responsible for several 
attempts from which I have narrow.y escaped with my 
Ufe therefore he shall answer to me-this canning 
knave who is actually my brother s assassin ! H. shall 
Dav the penalty of his crimes ! ' , j , 

^ •' All Russia knows that at Your Majest^s hands wv 
always receive justice," the Revolutionist said. From 
the 'Ministry, however, we never do. They are our 

°Pn;d;^R"tfonSs '.ish to kUl me because of the 
misdeeds of my Ministers ! " cried the Emperor m reproach. 


" If Your Majesty dismisses and punishes those who 
are responsible, then there will be no more Terrorism in 
Russia. I am a leader ; I have bred and reared the 
serpent of the Revolution, and I m3^self can strangle it 
— and I promise Your Majesty that as soon as General 
Markoif is removed from office — I wih do so." 



Agmn the Emperor turned to his table and scribbled a 
few lines in Russian, which he handed to the man. 

It was an impressive moment. What he had written 
was the dismissal in disgrace of his favourite, the most 
powerful official in the Empire. 

" I shall receive him in audience to-night, and shall 
give this to him," he said. " The punishment I can 
afterwards consider." 

Then, after a pause, he added : 

'' I have to thank you, Danilo Danilovitch, for all 
that you have revealed to me. Go and tell your com- 
rades of the Revolution all that I have said and what I 
have done. Tell them that their Emperor will himself 
see that justice is accorded them — that his one object 
in future shall be to secure, by God's grace, the peace, 
prcsperiiy and tranquillity of the Russian nation." 

Then the Emperor bowed as sign that the audience 
was at an end, and the man, unused to the etiquette 
of Court, bowed, turned, and wishing us farewell, 
walked out. 

" x\ll this utterly astounds me, Trewinnard," said 
His Majesty, when Danilovitch had gone. He was 
speaking as a man, not as an Emperor. " Yet what 
Tattie has revealed only confirms what I suspected 
regarding the death of my poor brother Peter," he 


went on " You recollect that I told you my suspicions 
of mv secret-on the day of the fourth Court ball 

Sd"?ihS drmi.g his «to.8 hand .-.•nly acras 

TSi/x ^h,f s*; '.tier's,':, 

It iSeid f have to ,h.n\you f«r_™ch m cc 
ito "g "fa^l 1»" Xi '" Rati" "»'■ «» 


you Offence, she might have remained i" Enf'^nd 
or rather, in Scotland, still preser^-mg her '"cogn i«, 
^nd stm rrtaining at her side the honest, upright young 
En.lfshman wi\h whom she has been in love ever since 

l^^X ^-^ Sfirco^ntS : 

how fntense her look. ;; By this step you have, m all 
probabihty. saved my life^ *^^'^''°^.^"bt kilfed r^e 


""■ii°'l«i " S" .1 comma„d,„8 pr.fnee strode 

a.f-rdr..|o.'.v")i £0 

before her, and drawing himself up with that reg.. air 


which suited him so well, he looked straight at her, 
placed his hand tenderly upon her shoulder as she sat, 
and said : 

" Tell me, Tattie ; do you really and truly love this 
Englishman ? " 

" I do, uncle," the girl faltered, her fine eyes downcast. 
" Of course I do. I — I cannot tell you a he and deny 

■' And — well, if Richard Drury took out letters of 
naturalization as a Russian subject, and I made him 
a Count — and I gave you permission to marry — what 
then — eh ? " he asked, smiling merrily as he stood 
over her. 

She sprang to her feet and grasped both his big 

" You will ! " she cried. " You really will ! Uncle, 
tell me ! " 

The Emperor, smiling benignly upon her — for, after 
j.ll, she was his favourite niece — slowly nodded in the 

Whereupon she turned to me, exclaiming : 

" Oh ! Uncle Colin. Dear old Uncle Colin ! I'm 
so happy — so very happy ! I must telegraph to Dick 
at once — at once ! " 

" No, no, little madcap," interrupted the Emperor ; 
" not from here. The Secret Police v\-ould quickly 
know all about it. Send someone to the German frontier 
with a telegram. One of our couriers shall start to- 
night. Drury wUl receive the good nevvS to-morrow 

evening, and, Tattie " he added, taking both her 

little hands again, " I have knov/n all along, from 
various reports, how deeply and devotedly you love this 
3'oung Englishman. Therefore, if I give my consent 
and make your union possible, I only hope and trust 
that you will both enjoy every happiness." 

In her \^ild ecstasy of delight the girl raised her svv-eet 


face to his heavy-bearded countenance, that face 
wora bv the cares of State, and kissed him fe^-ently^ 
Seine hkn profoundly, while I on my part craved 
or the fmmediate release of poor Luba de Rosen. 

The Emperor at once scribbled something upon an 
offi^^l Sraph form, and touching a bell, the sentry 

"^The"yoilng lady so crueUy wronged ^.dll be free 
and on her way back to Petersburg withm three hours 
the Monarch said quietly, after the sentry had made 

""Oh*' Uncle Colin!" cried Her Highness excitedly 

to me, '■' what a red-letter day this is or me ! . 

•' AAd for me also, Tattie," remarked Hi= Ma es.v 

ii his deep clear voice. " Owmg to your efioru, I 

h°in/the stirring-up of the people, the creation of di,- 

sa ulaction unr'est^ and the actual manufacture of 

r^-outfona^ plots directed against my own person^ 

T now know the truth, and I intend to act-to act 

vi?h a hand as strong and as relentless as they have 

-ed aeainst mv poor, innocent, long-suttenng sub ect.. 

h4 ffieto^BS was all anxiety to send a tele^am 

bv courief over the frontier to Eydtkuhnen. If he 

St PetTrsb^g by the night train at a quarter-past 

ten he wouldNhe reckoned, be at the fron ler at sue 

o^clock on the foUowing evening. It was half an hour 

bv tTain from Tzarskoie'selo to Petersburg, and she was 

nL ea^er to end the audience and be dismissed^ 

But His Majesty seemed m no .hi"y • J^e ^^^ 
us both many questions „concernmg Markoff, and 


what we knew regarding his deahngs with the bomb- 

Nataha explained what had occurred in Brighton, 
and how she had been constantly watched by Danilo- 
vitch, while I described the visit of Hart wig and myself 
to that dingy house in Lower Clapton. That sinister, 
unscrupulous chief of Secret Police had been directly 
responsible for the death of Natalia's father ; and Her 
Highness was bitter in her invectives against him. 

" Leave him to me," said the Emperor, frowning 
darkly. "He is an assassin, and he shall be punished 
as such." 

Then, ringing his bell again, he ordered the next 
Imperial courier in waiting to be summoned, for at 
whatever palace His Majesty might be there were always 
half a dozen couriers ready at a moment's notice to go 
to the furthermost end of the Empire. 

' ' I know, Tattie, you are anxious to send your message. 
Write it at my table, and it shall be sent from the first 
German station. Here, in Russia, the Secret Police are 
furnished with copies of all messages sent abroad or 
received. We do not want your secret disclosed just 
yet ! " he laughed. 

So the girl seated herself in the Emperor's chair, 
and after one or two attempts composed a telegram 
containing the good news, which she addressed to 
Richard Drury at his flat in Albemarle Street. 

Presently the courier, a big, bearded man of gigantic 
stature, in drab uniform, was ushered into the Imperial 
presence, and saluted. To him, His Majesty gave the 
message, and ordered him to take it by the next train 
to Eydtkuhnen. Whereupon the man again saluted, 
backed out of the door, and started upon his errand. 
WTiat, I wondered, would Dick Drury think when he 
received her reassuring message ? 

Nataha's face beamed with supreme happiness. 


while the Emperor himself for the moment forgot his 
Tnemies in the pleasure which his niece's dehght gave 

*°A^dn His Majesty, with darkening brow referred 
to tie bmtar murde^ of his favourite brother, the 
Grand Duke Peter, saymg : , .,_ • 

-You %vill recollect, Trewinnard, the cunous con- 
viction which one dav so suddenly came upon me. 
I repealed it to you in strictest secrecy-the ghastly 
truth which seemed to have been forced upon me by 
some in\4sible agency. It was my secret, and the idea 
harh^nted me^ver since. And yet here to-day my 
suspicion that poor Peter was killed by some person 
who feared what secret he might reveal stand, con- 
firmed • and yet," he cried, "how many times have 
I™ my ignorance, taken the hand of my brothers 

murderer 1 " _ . , ^r t. i ^rr 

Colonel Pohvanoff , the Imperial Marshal , my 
old friend, Captain Stoyano^dtch equerr>-m-w'aitmg 
both craved audience, one after the other, for they 
bore messages for His Majesty. Therefore tjiey.were 
received xvithout ceremony and impatiently dismissed 
The subject the Sovereign was discussmg with us 
was of far more importance than reports from the 
great miUtary camps at Vihia and at Smolensk, where 
manoeuvTes were taking place. . ^ , , , ^^^ ^„^ 

The Emperor turned to his private telephone and 
was speaking with Trepoff, the Minister /or rore:gn 
Affairs in Petersburg, when the Marshal Pohvanoff 
again entered, saying : ,. . . j- ^^ 

" His Excellency General Markotl petitions audience 

of Your Majesty." . , ^ a K^^ft. 

Nataha and I exchanged quick gknces, and botk 

^ For'^a second the Emperor hesitated. Then, turning 
to us, he commanded us to remain. 


" I utII see him at once," he said ver>- calmly, his 
face a trifle paler. 

Next moment the man whose dismissal in disgrace 
was alread}" lying upon the Emperor's desk stood upon 
the threshold and bowed himself into the Imperial 



That moment was indeed a breathless one. 

The Emperor's countenance was grey with anger. 
Yet he remained quite calm and firm. He was about to 
deal with an enemy more bitter and more dangerous 
than the most relentless firebrand of the whole Revo- 
lutionary Party. 

" I was not aware that Your Majesty was engaged 
w^ith Her Imperial Highness," the sinister-faced official 
began. " I have a confidential report to make — a matter 
of great urgency." 

" WeU, I hope it is not another plot," remarked the 
Sovereign with bitter, wear^^ sarcasm. " But whatever 
report you wish to make, Markoff, may be made here 
— before my niece and Mr. Trewinnard." 

He glanced at us suspiciously and then said : 

" Tliis afternoon the Moscow police have unearthed 
a most desperate plot to wreck Your Majesty's train 
earh" to-morrow morning at Chimki. I furnished them 
with information, and twenty-eight aiTests have been 

" Indeed," remarked his Imperial Master, raising 
his eyebrow's, quite unmoved. " Have you the list 
Ci names ? " 

In answer, the Genera] produced a yellow^ official 
paper, which he placed upon His Majesty's table. 


Then with but a casual glar.ce, the Emperor took 
up his quill and scribbled «.me words across the sheet 

^IliZfi VlncS' at the words written, then, much 


release. And, let me tell you, Serge Markoff, that this 

"" The "General's countenance went white as paper. 
Such a reception was entirely unexpected. 

■' Ah ! •■ exclaimed His Majesty, with a fitter =mue 
" T =ee what surprise and apprehension my talk with 
DLllo\4'h cause's you. WeS, I will not u^teran 
to the loathing I fee towards you— the man m vvnobc 
Tands I have placed such supreme power, and whom I 
have so impUci^ly tmsted. Suffice it to say that he has 
revealed to me the ingenious mamier '" ^^'l^^^P^^IX^ 
been formed in order to terrorize me, and your inhuman 

r^e?hod™f sending hundreds of innocent ones mto exile. 

merelv in order to obtain my favour. . , .. __r. 

-rhave never done such ^ thing P'cned the man 

in uniform, standing at attention as his master spo.e. 

" ^-'^Enfugh, "Taid the Emperor, in a loud comma„^^| 
v^nirP "Hear me ' You are an assassin. You kiuea 
^"brothS [he Grand Duke Peter with ywo.^ 
dastardly hand in order to hide your disgracef,^ tacti«. 
You sent your own wife to her grave, and yoB p-id 
your ca?spJw to kiU the Grand Duke Ki^hola. To-da^ 
there is a plot afoot to close the hps of rny mece ^d my 
good friend Trewinnard I These are only a ^r:°\l^^ 
disgraceful crimes. N<i ; d" "°t attempt to deny them 
brute and Har that you are. Rather reflect ^P^" * '^^ 
terrible fate of the thousands of poor wretches who nave 


been sent to the Arctic settlements by your relentless, 
inhuman hand. The souls of all those who have been 
worn out by the journey and died like dogs upon the 
Great Post Road, or in other ways have fallen innocent 
victims of your plots, call loudly for vengeance. And 
I tell you. Serge Markoff," he said, his dark, heavy brows 
narrowing in fierce anger, " I tell you that I shall find 
means by which adequate punishment will be awarded 
to you. Here is your dismissal ! " he added, taking 
the document from his table. " It will be gazetted 
to-morrow. Go back to Petersburg at once and there 
remain. Do not attempt to leave Russia, or even to 
leave Petersburg, or you will at once be placed under 
arrest and sent to the fortress. Go home, place your 
affairs in order, and await until I send for 3'ou again," 

The Emperor had not yet decided what form his 
punishment should take. 

" But — but surely Your Imperial Majesty will allow 
me to " he gasped with difficulty. 

" I wlVl aUow you nothing — nothing ! You are my 
enemy, Serge Markoff — a crafty,*^ cunning enemy, who 
now stands revealed as a brutal assassin ! Ah ! I 
shall avenge my brother Peter's death — depend upon 
it ! Go! Get from my presence ! " he commanded, 
and raising his hand, he pointed with his finger im- 
periously to the door. I had never .before seen such a 
look upon His Majesty's strong face. 

And the man whose evil actions had spread terror 
into every comer and ever}^ home throughout the 
Russian Empire, thus receiving his sudden conger 
slowly crossed the room, his head bowed, his face ashen. 

He was unable to speak or to protest. 

For a second he stood still, then, opening the door, 
he passed out in silence. 


Extract from the second edition of The Times issued 
on the following day : 

" From Our Own Correspondent. 

" St. Petersburg, May i6th. 
" A startling tragedy occurred just after seven 
o'clock last evening in front of the barracks m the 
Zaearodny Prospect in St. Petersburg, just outside 
the Tzarskoie-Selo Station. According to the journal 
Novosti, His ExceUency General Serge Markotf, 
Chief of Secret Police, and one of the Emperors 
most trusted officials, who had been to Tzarskoie-belo 
for audience with His Majesty, had arrived at the 
station unexpectedlv on his return to Petersburg, 
and his carriage not" being there, he resolved to walk 
down into the city. He had turned out of the 
station, when he was foUowed by an unknown man, 
who had, it seems, arrived by the same tram. In 
front of the barracks the pair apparently recognized 
each other, and, according to a bystander His 
Excellency drew a revolver and fired pomt-blank 
at the stranger, who next instant drew his ow^n 
weapon and shot the General dead. 

"All took place in the space of a few seconds, 
so suddenly, indeed, that the stranger, who cer- 
tainly fired in self-protection, was able to get clear 
away before any of the passers-by could stop him. 
The General's body was removed by the military 
ambulance to his residence facing the Summer- 
Gardens, and the strange affair created the greatest 
sensation throughout the city. 

"It is believed that the man so suddenly retog- 
nized by His Excellencv must have been a prominent 
Terrorist from whom the General feared assassination ; 
but it is proved by an onlooker— a butcher who was 
walking only a few feet from them— that His 


K y^!^^ Pu'l'^^j"'® making every inquiry, and it is 
be heved that the assassin of the well-known official 
Will be arrested. 

"Another curious feature in connection with 
the strange affair is that the same journal in another 
column pubhshes in the ' Official Gazette ' the an- 
nouncement that His Majesty the Emperor on?y 
two hours before the tragic occurrence dismissed 
hi. favo^orite official m disgrace. No reason is 
given, but it is rumoured in the diplomatic circle that 
certam grave administrative scandals have been 
discovered, and this dismissal is the first of several 
which are to foUow. In fact, in certain usudlv 
well-mtormed quarters it is persistently declared 
that the whole Cabinet wiU be dismissed -^^^^"^^"^ 

'' The Empeix)r left with the Tzarina for ^Moscow 
last evening. The Grand Duchess Nataha acc^m^ 
panied them, and Mr. Colin Trewinnard, of the 
British Embassy, travelled by the same train." 



Three months later. 

and dlTst ^'""^ ^'^^^^ '"^ Russia-the month of drought 

H^S?/' ^'''''' ^"^ 't*^'^'^ *^ ^^^ ^^ther's house 
^.^l ' Tl' '^^''' ^^' P^^P^^^y ^^d her dead 
mother s handsome mcome, which had been confiscated 

^■1%^'^'^'- l^^ b^^^^eturned to her. SeveraTtTmes 
both Her Highness and myself had visited her wSle 
one auemoon she had been received in private audience 
at Gatchina by the Emperor, who had sympathized v/^th 


her and promised to make amends in every v/ay for 
the injustice she had suffered . 

The camarilla who had so long ruled Russia, pl^cmg 
the onus of their oppression upon the Emperor, had 
thanks to Nataha, been broken up, and a new and 
honest Cabinet estabUshed in its place ^ ^or^nff' <. 

Danilo Danilovitch, on the day followmg Markoff s 
assassination, had telegraphed openly from Gemiany 
to His Maiesty, announcing that he had nd Kussia 
of her worst enemy. And probably that message 
did not cause the Emperor much displeasure. It 
was the carrying out of the old Biblical law of an eye 
for an eve. And as the catspaw was beyond the frontier, 
and the crime a political one, its perpetrator was im- 
mune from arrest. ., 

Five weeks later, however, the Supreme Council 
of the People's \M11, held in an upstairs room m Greek 
Street, Soho, and presided over by Danilovitch m person 
heard from him a long and complete statement, m which 
he described his audience at Tzarskoie-Selo and de- 
livered the message sent by the Emperor to the K^^o- 

"" Unanimously it was then decided to put an end to 
all militant measures, now that the Emperor knew the- 
truth and to trust the assurances given from the throne, 
A loyal reply was drafted to His Majesty s message, 
and this was duly despatched by a confidential messenger 
to Russia and placed in the Emperor s owti hands— 
a declaration of loyalty which gave him the greatest 

gratification. , -, . +, ^lUr 

Diplomatic Europe, in ignorance of what was actuall> 
in progress, was surprised at the sudden turn of events 
in Russia, and on account of the unexpected dismissal 
of Ministers and the estabhshment of the Duma felt 
that open revolution was imminent. From the clliciai 
busybodies at the various Embassies the truta was 


carefully concealed It was, of course, known that 
General Markoff had all along been the worst enemy of 
Kussia, and in consequence the Revolutionary Party 
made open rejoicing at the news of his death. Yet 
tne actual facts were ingeniously suppressed, both from 
the diplomatic corps and from the correspondents of 
the foreign newspapers. . 

The entire change in the Emperor's poHcy and the 
granting of many much-needed reforms were regarded 
abroad as the natural reaction after the drastic auto- 
cracy. But nobody dreamed of the truth, how the 

f^^Tu f 1 ^^\\u''u^''^ "'^^ ^^^ ^ b^^i^n ruler, 
had at last learned the bitter truth, and had instantly 
acted for the welfare and safety of his beloved people 

Many of the London journals pubhshed leading 
aricles upon what they termed " the new era in Russia,'' 
attributing It to all causes except the right one, the 
popular opmion being that His Majesty had at last 
oeen terrorized mto granting justice and a proper 
representation to the people. Exile of political prisoners 
to Siberia had been suddenly aboHshed by Imperial 
ukase together with the major powers vested in the 

l^Zl f A^' 7^' '^^^^y ^^^ ^^^^ti^y ^f the home was 
guaranteed, and no person could in future be consigned 

Au'i^^^''-'' '''■ ^""'^^"^ without fair and open trial 
All this, It was said, was a triumph of the Revolu- 
tion. Journahsts believed that the Emperor had 
been forced to accord the people their demand. Little 
mdeed, did the world dream the actual truth, the 
secret of which was so well kept that only the British 
Foreign Minister at Downing Street was aware of it 
tor by the Emperor's express permission I was able 
to sit one day in that sombre private room in the Foreign 
Orfice axnd there m confidence relate the strange events 
he shadows of a throne, which I have endeavoured to 
set down m the foregoing pages. 


Since the day of the dismissal of Serge Markoft 
with five members of the Cabinet, and the breaking 
UD of that disgraceful camariUa which had surrounded 
?he Sovereign, suppressing the truth, preventuig reforms, 
a^dXg Holy Russia ^^^th a hand of iron the nation 
tad indeed entered upon an era of financial and social 
Dro.Tess Russia has become a nation of enlightenment , 
prosperity and industry, even, perhaps, agamst the 
will of her upper classes. . , , j 

I was present on that August day in the handsome 
private church attached to the great Palace of Peterhof 
knd there ^^dtnessed the marriage of Her Impenai 
Highness the Grand Duchess Nataha to Richard Drury, 
CoSnt of Ozerna. who had become a naturahzed Russian 
subject and been ennobled by the Emperon 

It was a briUiant function, for all the Ministers, 
foreign Ambassadors and the whole Imperial Court, 
including the Emperor and Empress, were present 
The Court now being out of mournmg for the Grand 
Duke Nicholas, the display of smart gowns, uniforms 
and decorations was more strikmg than even at a State 
ball at the Winter Palace. ., v t 

Standing beside Captain Stoyanovitch I was ne^ 
NataUa, the incorrigible httle madcap of the Ro^anotts 
when %^th her husband she knelt before the altar while 
the priest, in his gorgeous robes, bestowed upon them 
his blessing. And when they rose and passed out, 
their handsome faces reflected the supreme ]oy ot the 
triumph of their mutual love. 
Some years have now passed. 

His Imperial Majesty, alas ! lies in his great sarco- 
phagus in Moscow, and the Tzarevitch reigns m his 
stead But in Russia the Revolutionary movement is 
no longer a mihtant one, for the people know well that 
their ruler's aims and aspirations are those of his father, 
and patiently await the reforms which, though perhaps 


slow in progress, nevertheless do from time to time be- 
come law and bestow the greatest benefits upon the 
many milhons of souls from the German frontier to the 
bea of Japan. 

Ivan Hartwig, the Anglo-Russian, still lives on the 

hf H A\ T.^'^'"'^^^/^ ^^ ^"^ S^^^^e^k' and is still 
head of the Russian burete, and from him I only recently 
heard that Danilo Danilovitch had been discovered in 
Chicago, leading the life of a highly-respected citizen. 
He had changed his name into Daniels, and was the 
proprietor of one of the largest boot factories in that 
progressive city Miss West has been pensioned and 
remams in Brighton, but Davey, the English maid, is 
^Liil m the Grand Duchess s service 

As for myself-well, I am still a diplomat, and still 
a bachelor. 

After service as Councillor of Embassy in Berlin 
\\ashmgton and Paris, I was appointed by the late 
King Edward his Envoy extraordinaire et Ministre 
piempotentiaire to a certain brilliant Court in the 
South ol Europe where I stHl reside in the great white 
-bmoassy as chief of a large and briUiant stal 

Sometimes when I go on leave, I manage to snatch 
a w-eek or two with Count Drury and his pretty wife 
at the orand-Ducal Palace in Petersburg, where they 
live together m perfect idyHic happiness, and where 
splendid receptions are given during the wmter season 
More than once, too, I have been guest at their great 
Castle of Ozerna a gloomy mediaeval fortress, near 
Orel m Central Russia, to enjoy the excellent boar- 
huntmg m the huge forests surrounding 

.^d often as I have sat at their table, waited on 
by the gorgeous flunkeys in the blue-and-gold Grand 
Ducal hvery, headed by old Igor, I have looked into 
Natalia s pretty face and reflected how Uttle the Russian 
people ever dream that for the liberty which has recently 


come to them they are indebted solely to a woman— 
to the '^irl who was once declared to be an mcomgibie 
flirt and who had scandahzed the Imperial family— 
the little Grand Duchess, who, at the sacrifice of her own 
ereat love boldly exposed and denounced that un- 
scrupulous' and powerful official, Markolf the one-time 
Chief of Secret Police, the man who had sacnhced so 
many innocent lives as the Price of Power. 


,f Tinted at The Chapel River Press, Kingston. Surrey. 

Now included in 


2/^ net Series of Popular Novels. 

E. w. SAvrs 

Six famous Anglo-Indian Novels. 







Each Volume neatly bound with 
xAttradive Pictorial Wrapper 

2/- t^e^t 

Mrs. Sari Has a thorough knowledge of Anglo-Indian life and a 
well-deserved reputation as a writer of real human stories. 

HURST & BLACKETT, Ltd., Paternoster House,